I have a sign on my front door which says No Cold Callers. But, for some reason, charity collectors seem to think this doesn’t apply to them – like the RSPCA door-to-door saleswoman yesterday. And the annual Christian Aid lady.
Now, I’m not a mean person. I do give to charity. Actually I give quite a lot to charity. But these are charities that I choose for whatever reason. Breast cancer, for example, is a charity that’s particularly close to my heart. Two of my closest friends died from breast cancer and others have been or still are affected by it.
Then there was that amazing young man, Stephen Sutton, who tragically passed away from cancer earlier in the summer. I donated twice to his charity (a) because I hate cancer, (b) because he reminded me so much of my own son and (c) because my heart went out to his mother.
I give money to eating disorders charities, too. If you’ve been on my LinkedIn page you’ll notice that a number of my contacts are from the eating disorders world. This is because my son (mentioned above) suffered from a life-threatening eating disorder which stole 3+ years from his teenage life, before he, thankfully, recovered. As a parent that has been in a situation where their child has almost died, I will do whatever I can to prevent other families from having to go through this experience whether it’s donating to DNA research to discover why certain people are susceptable to developing anorexia, or simply giving to support organisations like the UK eating disorder charity, B-eat. I also donate my copywriting services, free of charge, to write stuff aimed at helping other families facing this deadly illness that kills too many young people.
Anyway, now that I’ve proven to you that I’m not an old Scrooge, the point I’m trying to make is that I object to charities calling at my door in an attempt to tug at my heart strings to make a donation, sign up for a direct debit or whatever.
And, as a copywriter of 25 years’ standing and a marketer, I’m not at all sure that this kind of activity does a charity’s image any favours. Christian Aid, for instance, only ever conjures up an uncomfortable image of a little old lady on the doorstep asking for your envelope of cash. So you feel guilty because you know she’s a nice church-going lady, not a saleswoman, and she hates this job, and you donate.
I’m not sure whether yesterday’s RSPCA door-to-door collectors were volunteers or paid. I like to think they were the former.
However if you’re trying to raise money for charity, I am sure there are better ways to do it. Ways which are more likely to endear you to the population at large and create warm feelings in potential givers rather than guilt.
Or hearing the knock at the door, peering through the spyhole, seeing the little old lady with her bag of envelopes and pretending you are out.