I consider myself to be a charitable person. When I was a kid, I went door-to-door selling raffle tickets for Meningitis Trust, as an adult I've organised events for Lupus UK, I spent a whole year giving up my Saturdays to work in a Child Contact Centre and back in May I ran Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research. A few weeks ago, I even went and had a black ribbon tattooed on my leg for melanoma at an event organised by one of my husband's good friends where the proceeds of every tattoo was donated to cancer charities.
But today, I can unequivocally say that I've had a gut-full of charity.
Whilst walking up the high street to do the banking for my boss, one of those obnoxious charity collectors (who get PAID to fund raise- can you explain the logic of that to me?) stepped towards me and starting shouting her script at me, telling me that it was my responsibility to end poverty in Africa.
On account of the fact that a) I didn't have time to stop and b) I have a moral objection to that type of fundraising, I politely told her that I didn't have time to stop and carried on walking while she stood behind me muttering.
On the way back down the high street after I had run my errands and much to my complete and utter incredulity, the very same chugger (as I'm reliably informed they're called) tried to stop me again, this time by physically blocking my path.
I told her that she'd already tried to stop me and that I STILL didn't have the time to stop, only for her to make facetious comments about me as I walked away. Now, is it just me, or does that seem a little bit out of line?
This evening, we had my husband's father and his wife over for dinner. Just as they were leaving the telephone rang. I answered and a man introduced himself as a caller from Cancer Research. He thanked me for my money-raising efforts for Race for Life and asked me if I'd had a nice day. Next, he asked why I'd chosen to do it and I explained about my friend and how she'd recently lost her fight. He expressed sympathy and proceeded with his spiel, offering me the chance to give £8 a month directly from my bank account.
I explained that I couldn't afford to add to my monthly outgoings this close to Christmas, but said that if he was able to phone back in January that I may be able to contribute. He barreled on (I must add, totally ignoring the fact that I was crying on the other end of the phone, after he decided to tell me about the wonderful new treatments for extending the lives of cancer patients) pushing me to sign up. At this point, my husband had had enough of seeing me upset and told me to put the phone down, so I interrupted the bloke for the third time and told him that I needed to hang up.
As I've gone to great lengths to stress, I consider myself to be a charitable soul, giving not just money but also as much time and effort as I can spare too and yet I got off of the telephone this evening feeling as though I'd been completely wrung out by this charity worker. I don't know if it's the policy of Cancer Research to treat people this way, and I'd never speak ill of a charity which has done so much, but I really feel that these aggressive methods of fundraising are a step too far. I feel as though I've been harangued in my own home, chased up and down the high street and generally treated like shit.
I won't say that this has put me off of donating to charity; I'll always give where I can. But I hope someone, somewhere, will read this post and maybe think about the way that they approach people. I don't deserve to be made to feel guilty and reminded of personal grief. I'm a good person and this isn't the way to make me part with my cash.
Jayne is a mum to a five-year-old girl and is expecting another little lady, due Feb '14. She currently works from home as well as studying for a degree with the Open University. She's domestically challenged and hates washing up, but makes an awesome lasagne and is a whizz with a sewing machine.
Blogs at: Mum's The Word
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