It's time to open a discussion on the subject of donation fatigue. Several years ago I felt very differently about this issue, and even tried running a fundraiser myself. Now I am unsure. Blog comments are encouraged as I hope you'll share your views with all of us on this difficult topic.
I grew up in a low income home. I am grateful that the basics were there, but there was no money for extras. My 20's and early married life were spent living paycheck to paycheck. Camping and visiting family was how we spent most of our vacations. Any unforeseen expense would keep us awake into the wee hours. Our ability to donate to needy causes was pretty limited.
It wasn't until our 50's that things began to ease up. The house was paid off and the kids were becoming self-sufficient. What a relief it was to not have to balance the checkbook every day or be frantic if an unexpected expenditure was required. That's not to say we didn't still have to live within a budget, but it was much more relaxed than before. We were even able to budget in our first trip overseas. We could occasionally step in with charity donations.
When Glen retired we again worried. Did we have enough set aside to last us through our old age? It took 3-4 years before we began to relax again. It was then that I finally I realized we had reached a point in life where we could start giving back on a regular basis. Thought was put into where we wanted to step in. It started with just little here, a little there.......but each donation came from our heart.
Over the last few years, though, I have noticed a steady increase in requests for support. First everyone started doing Crowdfunding campaigns. Then when Facebook implemented their fundraising platform, things really took off. Every week I seem to receive notice of 3-5 new donation requests driven largely by Facebook birthday campaigns at this time.
Add these to the crowdfunding requests, charity fundraising events, private money requests from people in need, email charity campaigns, global disaster relief requests, funding for medical research and more. As much as I would love to support everyone's passion and to fill all the needs I see around me, it's not financially feasible for me to do so.
I have great admiration for those who do have to walk this path each and every day as they work to fund their established charitable organizations and I try to support them as much as possible. But as more as more people throw their towel in the fund-raising arena, the deluge of requests has become overwhelming. So much so that I've had to, except for rare times, put a moratorium on giving while I try to figure out how to navigate them all. I doubt I am alone.
How DO you choose where to focus put your charity giving? How DO you say no to requests from friends/family. How DO you deal with the guilt of not saying yes? And if you feel led to run a fundraiser, how can you find a different approach that doesn't add the the overwhelm. These are all minefields I've been trying to navigate this last year in particular. I would love to hear your thoughts.