The title of this post may or may not be already familiar to you, but it was new to me a few moments ago when I read it in this article on the aggressive behaviour of some charities.
The article, from as far back as June 2005, is an informed piece on “charity mugging” (hence the contraction, “chugging) — and I found it after Googling the words “charities” and “aggressive”. It succinctly outlines the need for charities to allow their supporters to feel valued and not undermine their sense of altruism (i.e. by making supporters feel that they are giving for the wrong reasons.) And judging by the television adverts and unsolicited mail with which we are continually bombarded, I think it fair to say that few have learned its lesson.
A case in point. My father recently made a donation to a UK cancer charity. It wasn’t huge, but it was planned to be another of his yearly donations. He sent off the cheque and forgot all about it until, a few weeks later, he received a thank you. Nice. So what’s your point, Gary? I hear you ask. Well, you see, this wasn’t just a thank you. Oh, no. It was also a request.
A request for more money.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m highly sympathetic towards charities. They have to struggle for every penny in an increasingly demanding environment. But this is just unacceptable. It’s up there with the emotional bribery of the children’s charity ads on television and the charity circular with the deformed face of a child on the envelope that fell through our letterbox this morning.
So, if you are a charity board member, worker, publicist etc, do the genuine cause you represent a favour and take the wise advice of Dr. Farsides:
“It’s like any other relationship. If you get your own way only by nagging, threatening or pleading, other people will eventually help you only when they feel they have to. They also will not like you very much. On the other hand, if you show warm appreciation for someone who voluntarily helps you, you will have a friend for life.”