I was chilling out on a warm Friday afternoon back in January after a long day at work. I think I even had a beer in my hand that day, something I don’t often do. The phone rang, and being home alone meant I had to drag myself off the couch to get up and answer it.
I’m not really one with much patience for charities/market researchers/telemarketers. Then again, who is? But the woman on the other end of this phone call asked me how my day was. It was so unusually nice. So polite. She then asked me if I knew anything about kidney disease. And I couldn’t help but open up to her. I told her I was a diabetic, and that kidney disease was a possible complication from having diabetes.
She then proceeded to tell me a touching story about sick children on dialysis and how this charity was raising money for a bus to make the dialysis more accessible to these children from home. Well, from memory anyway – don’t quote me on it. She told me that they were urgently needing to raise something like $17,000 in order to help these sick kids. I was really touched. It really resonated with me. That could be me one day. Touch wood, I hope not. But there is a possibility that one day, I might be the one sitting in that chair on dialaysis. I might be the one wishing for the support to make dialaysis easier.
I agreed to buy a raffle ticket. She told me that I had to call her back on a special hotline for the competition. I could have chosen not to call her back. Taken the easy way out. But, being the honest person that I am, I made the call. And she was ever grateful. She thanked me and wished me well, telling me to take care of myself so that she won’t see me come in for dialaysis. And I felt so warm and fuzzy inside. It was one of the best charitable things I could have done.
And then a few days later, my Mum told me about a phone call she received from the Kidney charity. Asking for a donation. Again. I had given them a donation. I was happy to do it. And yet they couldn’t even do the decent thing and cross my name off of the register. I felt as though I had been taken advantage of. That that one good deed went unacknowledged.
Which brings me to a few nights ago. I will emphasise that this was a mere FOUR months later. I was sitting at the dinner table as the phone rang. I got up to answer it, and it was none other than the Kidney charity. Asking for a donation. Again. Telling me that same sad story. Again.
I told the woman on the phone how I felt. I had given a donation, which I was happy to do at the time. And yet I felt as though I were being taken advantage of. They held onto my details (as most charities do) to keep calling me, to keep marketing to me. To keep making me feel guilty and asking for donations.
She told me absolutely not. She said they made absolutely no profit and receive no government support. She told me that they were absolutely grateful for my support last time. But this time around, I didn’t believe it. They’d used a good deed that made me feel good as a way to guilt me again. And again. And again. It just never seems to be enough with charities. So I think that next time, I will politely say no.