Charity give 26.10.15

I’m not well off, but I have a roof over my head, food on the table and enough to pay my bills. Correction, I am well off.

Having a clear out I was astounded at the amount of ‘stuff’ I have that I never use. Everything from computers, nick-nacks and electrical goods I no longer need, to brand new clothes complete with tags, bought with the idea that if I dropped a dress size they would be a perfect fit.

Fine, I’ll do my bit for those less fortunate and donate them to Charity.

Before I tackled the mammoth task of sorting the clothes into ‘Keep, Charity, Rags,’ I could at least get rid of the surplus coat hangers easily. Right? Wrong!

Although not heavy, the little devils were bulky and had the habit of contorting themselves into the most involved works of interconnected art, making them difficult to carry. A quick phone call to the local charity shop would let them know to expect them; after all Charity shops sell clothes so they must need clothes hangers.

“What type are they? We only accept packaged satin-covered in bundles of ten for resale.” More phone calls with a similar response.

Some of the big charity shops have become bottom line, accountant driven, profit makers. When it is cheaper to buy a new book direct from a shop, at half the price a charity is charging for a second hand version, there is something wrong somewhere.  I appreciate  the bigger any business gets the greater the overheads, but when they lose sight of the main purpose of their existence I start to despair.

Almost every week I get a plastic begging bag through the door, asking for donations which will be collected on ‘Thursday/Friday.’  I dutifully sort out my extras, bag them up, leave them in plain sight, and two weeks later take them in again, as no one has been near or bye.

I never give at the door. I’m sure 50% of the people flashing a made up badge identifying their charity are genuine. The other 50% see an easy ride for their own pocket, and ‘Thank you very much Mugs’ who have been conned by a pleasant personality and sweet smile.

Maybe the lonely old lady, giving the last 50p from her pension and grateful for five minutes of company, is more deserving than the campaign to ‘Save the Outer Mongolian mouse,’ of which there are only five billion left in the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I weep when I see kids, elderly people or animals abused or neglected.

I have various charities I support. I buy their lottery tickets, send donations when I receive newsletters, and have even set up a monthly (small) standing order for regular contributions to a few cancer charities.

It was only when I accidentally entered some personal details incorrectly that I realised; first name ‘Ms,’ surname ‘Val,’ was suddenly on a database for the world and his wife to bombard.

Despite confirming the ‘Do not share’ box ‘Ms Val’ receives enough mail to put a smile on any author’s face.  Perhaps I should return the compliment and blitz them with marketing material for my new book in their thoughtfully provided Freepost envelopes.

Another sneaky trick is to change whether ticking the box actually agrees to you opting in or out of being put on their mailing list. Don’t worry about it. Whatever you put is usually ignored anyway; just more paper for the overflowing recycle bin.

What also riles me are the constant adverts on TV, blackmailing people into feeling duty bound to send money to XYZ charity. When you appreciate how much a thirty second, prime time TV advert costs, I can’t help wondering how much goes on Admin, and how many of your hard earned pennies actually reach their intended target.

At least if I take my unwanted clothes to the local church or community centre, I can be reasonably confident that the volunteers will spend their own money on petrol to distribute them, and someone, somewhere might benefit from the warm pair of socks/jacket that I no longer need.

Now and again a local charity might have a fund raising day, and are delighted when they manage to raise maybe £120. This is only because the volunteer’s expenses, amounting to perhaps £100, are never claimed. These are the good people. They give their time, effort and support to help their chosen charity make a few bob. Without them it would be a totally different story.

We are only nine weeks away from when the big guy in the red suit starts coming down the chimney, so expect the barrage of Charity requests to increase dramatically.

I hope Father Christmas doesn’t follow my blog.

I’m a compassionate person really, but don’t like to be bullied into giving because the media dictates who or what is the most deserving flavour of the month.

Rant over. Thanks for listening.

In case you were wondering 😀 my two published books are and
Neither of them are Charity related, one is a romance, the other an encouragement to never give up despite the adversities of life.
See, Santa Claus , I’m nice really, so I hope you don’t forget me. I’ve even bought extra carrots to donate to your reindeer. x    

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