You’re out Christmas shopping and a lady with a bucket asks if you have any change for a charity appeal. You drop a few pennies into the bucket. A little later, your arms laden with Christmas presents, a teenager approaches you to set up a direct debit for a humanitarian charity. You politely decline and make your way home. Opening your door you see that you’ve received ‘junk mail’ from a national charity, which includes a coaster and some blank Christmas cards.
How do you feel? Annoyed? Guilty for spending your money on gifts? How about feeling warm, cherished and powerful?
Giving your hard earned money away to someone else is a selfless thing to do. But in return, the feeling that you’ve helped that person in need is wonderful.
As much as the frequency of these charity appeals – in various forms – may be too much for your purse strings and your patience, the fact is that the charities need you.
I am someone whose previous profession was to fundraise though direct mail for Marie Curie Cancer Care and I used the motto “If you don’t ask, you don’t get” every day.
The constant asking for the public’s help is because charities rely on their help.
And to put your mind at rest about the amount of money spent on the coasters, blank Christmas cards, and letters that come through your door every once in a while: charities would never spend money unless they knew they’d get a return on it.
The people on the streets shaking their buckets? Volunteers. They spend their time asking for your money through the goodness of their hearts.
This Christmas, I’ll be giving some of what I’d otherwise be spending on another class of mulled wine to charity.
It’s a present for them and it’s a present for me. I still support my old employer, Marie Curie, because I know from working there and seeing the service first hand that their work is invaluable.
However I’ll also be supporting those close to my new home, such as local Sheffield charities Cavendish Cancer Care and St.Luke’s Hospice.
I hope you’ll join me and make someone else’s Christmas.