do an hour "collecting" for the Christmas Bowl Appeal this afternoon. I am, as always, doing this with mixed feelings. Yes, it is a worthy cause and most of the money collected will go where it is intended it should go. All the same I dislike the idea of standing there "asking" for money.
Fortunately I do not actually need to "ask". You just sit or stand there, smile nicely and hope that people will feel they want to contribute something. Yes, we have been told by the organiser not to approach people, especially at this particular location.
I would not approach people anyway. It is my belief that nobody should feel they are required to donate money to any cause at all. It should be left up to them.
I will never try and sell books of raffle tickets for the same reason. I cannot make myself approach my friends, neighbours and acquaintances and ask them to part with money in the hope of winning a car or a case of wine or some other "donated" goody. There are no raffle tickets involved this time, just a straightforward donation - if people want to give.
I know charities are constantly trying to come up with new ways to raise money. The "prizes" for "donating" have become even bigger. There are at least two local charities which raffle off houses each year. Cars, boats and caravans are now commonplace.
Someone I am vaguely acquainted with won a trailer filled with gardening equipment, electrical goods and toys. He lives in a city apartment, does not drive or have a garden. He has all the electrical goods he needs and no children. He gave the lot away with a shrug and perhaps it did more good that way. He had bought the ticket under pressure from a work colleague.
But I have other problems with charitable organisations. I know that far too much of the money gets wasted on administration and on the public face of the charity. I know that some of them replicate the work of other, similar charities and that administration is duplicated, as is money spent on the public face. I know that there are all sorts of issues inside charities. I know they struggle to get funds and volunteers and that many smaller charities are simply not able to compete.
I also know that they should supplement the work which should be done by government paid for by our taxes. They should not be a substitute - but all too often they are.