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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Are You Giving Til It Hurts?
Karen from A Peek At Karen's World posted about this topic yesterday. She brought up the people that you can often see outside banks, stores, and other places here in California who are wearing the crisp white uniforms or nurse's outfits. They often don't speak English. Who are they and what do they represent? And why should I give them any money?
All year we get an endless parade of fundraisers. We have kids selling candy, wrapping paper, or what ever else they can come up with in order to raise money for school, sports teams, or scouts. Then there are Shriners and civic organizations having circuses and shows to raise funds for their causes. The list of products and services that are offered in exchange for your "donations" are infinite.
Now, I have to admit I'm partial to the circuses and shows. I spent many years working in stage productions that were essentially subsidized through the auspices of fundraising by salespeople who were paid to do this job. I justified the fact that only a small percentage of funds were disbursed to the sponsoring organization by rationalizing that the rest of the money went to pay fundraisers and performers who in turn recycled the money back into the economy.
Or to use a scenario that more of us may be familiar with, I offer the example of the overpriced Girl Scout cookies. Granted the Girl Scouts receive a portion of the proceeds of each box sold, they don't get all of the money. The money they don't receive goes into the economy by paying people at the cookie factory, the company that makes the packaging, and the distribution network that delivers the cookies to Scout troops throughout the United States.
If we look at our "donations" to charities as contributions into the larger economy, it can become clearer how the money is eventually cycled back into our own pockets. The movement of money is essential for making the economy function in a healthy way. But if you're like me there is a point where it seems like there is no more to give.
What is your policy on donations?
Are you giving until it hurts? Could you afford to give more? Do you do anything besides giving money? What are your favorite charities? Which charities annoy you the most?