Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Give us your money

Is what Cancer Research said to me the other night but in a nicer manner than that.

I have issues with charities. Big issues (no pun intended) and I don't know what the solution is.  Now take Cancer Research, a huge charity helping millions with no funding from the government. Well they say no funding but they do get tax breaks and such like. Also its in the pharmaceuticals interest for charities to have lots of funding as then they can sell the drugs to the governments the world over. 

Now I don't know many people who haven't known of someone who has died of cancer or has battled the disease.  The cause is not in question.  As you know I took part in the Race for Life and our team raised a little shy of £3,000.00. A few months after the race my sister gave me £20 to add to the team pot. The £20 gathered dust on the top of the cabinet and when I got around to remembering it the team monies had been submitted. So instead of getting myself a take-away (no I wouldn't have done I promise!) I just gave the £20 as a donation via their website.

How could you not drop money into Rupert? pic ebay
A few weeks later I get a call from Cancer Research saying thank you for the donation and how they'd like to chat. I was busy at the time so said can you call back thinking they wouldn't. They did. This time the lady said thank you so much, asked why I had donated and explained what the money goes on etc. She then went into the semi-hard sell proceeded by the full on hard sell.  So not content with nearly £3,020.00 could I make a regular donation of, say, £10 per month? As whilst donations are great they need regular ones they can count on. I said no. I like to give as and when not on a monthly basis. She then re-iterated that it helps fight the disease - going in for the guilt kill now. No sorry.  She was getting on my nerves now.  Then she says well what about £5 per month? No sorry. Then I explained I had a problem with charities in general. The percentage of  money that actually goes to what you want is nominal.

Live Aid being a good example of millions being raised (or was it billions I can't remember) and still we see children starving in Africa. I think only recently someone has said oh actually we need to manage the money rather than give it to corrupt governments and trust them to spend it on what it was intended. Only yesterday it was reported that 50 million pounds of charity money had been spent on...wait for it...how not to waste money.  Erm, raises hand, here's an idea why don't we not spend 50 million pounds on working out how not to waste money?! Can someone pay me for that idea? Still keeps someone in a job doesn't it. Sod the people who actually really need that money.

The struggling saleswomen said 80% of Cancer Research donations go to the research 20% on the rest. The rest would be salaries, offices, websites, big glossy adverts and phone calls like this - the very problem I have with charities. The parasites that take their cut of the very large pie in the name of a good cause. Take charity Christmas cards the percentage that goes to the charity is shockingly low. Individuals make lots of money from charities. Its big business.  I pointed out that 20% of millions is rather a lot of money.  She then said well what about £5 ever quarter? So we'd gone from £10 per month to £5 per month to £20 a year.  No. Again I pointed out that the money I would give would go towards her salary to phone me up to ask me for more money! She then confessed that she was working for a company employed by Cancer Research to raise more money but the cost of this was only £50,000.  I doubt very much its only costing Cancer Research to pay another company to drum up more donations some how.  I said what a waste of money why can't Cancer Research use the people they already employ "they don't have the time".  I rest my case.

I have given money to various disaster appeals, paid for tents in Cambodia, Barnardos, Eastern European orphans, lifeboats, NSPCC the list goes on and on. I will never ever give to a charity that comes a knocking on my door let me tell you. I find that highly inappropriate and I tell them so. I won't set up a monthly donation to any one charity in particular as I don't want to. 

If that makes me uncharitable then so be it.  I think all charities need to be clear as to exactly how much of the money you donate goes to what you care about.  I am not saying don't give to charities - as that's not the answer either. But in truth I don't know what the answer is. Do you?

7 comments:

  1. I absolutely hate people that call to try and guilt you into giving and who are personally benefitting by getting paid to do it. I just say that I have a fixed gifting programme and don't respond to telephone or door appeals - it also has the benefit of being true.

    And while we are in a moaning mood - there are some charities which are doing things that the government should be funding - like ambulances in NZ and fundraising for the Childrens Hospital (Starship)....

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    1. Totally agree governments should be paying for so much after all they like to pocket enough for themselves! x

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  2. I won't do monthly donations. Mostly because on a monthly basis I'm not sure I can afford to. It might only be £3 or £5 which doesn't seem like much but when you have committed to paying it that amount can suddenly become frighteningly huge. I donate to charities when I feel like not through pressure. I'd rather donate £20 to a friend who is doing a sponsored run. I don't keep track of how much I donate but it's probably in the region of hundreds over the course of a year as and when required. I also support local charities and smaller charities that work purely on voluntary basis and don't have big budgets. There are a couple of charities that are close to my heart and one in particular that have given me loads of support and for that reason will be forever grateful to them :) www.cerebra.org.uk

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    1. You're quite right a monthly donation becomes another outgoing and we all have enough of those. What you give and who you give to is very personal and I think many don't take kindly to being asked aggresively for monney. x

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  3. CR, in particular, has made me so angry because of their approach to fundraising. I know it's important to study cancer (I'm a scientist and my Mom died of cancer), but I have had to demand they remove me from their mail list. How much does it cost them to send out all those stickers and pens and appeal letters?

    Well done on your fantastic achievement - I hope the money you raised went straight to a good lab and will make a big difference really soon x.

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    1. Hi Lesley I have to agree with you I was taken a back by this hard sell - I mean she made a double glazing salesman look amateur! I've also had emails and letters. My cousin has just recently completed his master degree at Oxford Uni (proud as punch)on biomedical chemistry and specialising in cancer. I think more of the gross profit needs to go to the cause - too much is taken and wasted meaning less goes directly to the research x

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