My Charities, They're Stalking Me

Tuesday, December 4, 2007
I believe in charitable giving. Whether you donate your money, your time, or your goods to some worthy cause, you're balancing the inherent evil in the world with some inherent good.

Over the years, I've given to a variety of causes such as the The Women's Bean Project, Puppies Behind Bars, The Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, Doctors Without Borders, The International Rescue Committee, The American Red Cross, Fisher House, Planned Parenthood, Kiva, and a variety of homeless shelters, food banks and "adopt-a-family" efforts. At the time of my donation, all met my requirement of using a minimum of 85% of donations to accomplish the mission to which they were dedicated, and fulfilled some need that I thought was important.

Unfortunately, with a few notable exceptions, they also now stalk me like a bad prom date.

Some of these charities no longer receive my support, either because their operating expenses exceeded my maximum threshold, or my interests lie elsewhere, or my donation was a one-time thing in honor of someone else. Some of them still receive my support, in the form of a percentage of my charity budget each year. But I continue to be bombarded by requests for additional money via phone, e:mail and snail-mail. In some cases, I would speculate that they've already reached the point of diminishing returns with me, yet I continue to hear from them.

My grand champion charitable stalker is the Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood organization. Now I believe in Planned Parenthood. I think they do good work, and I strongly believe in their mission. But I don't think they need to e:mail me constantly, and I certainly don't think they need to call me periodically to inform me that if I don't act RIGHT NOW I'm going to be personally responsible for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Note to RMPP: I think GWB's appointment of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the SCOUS may have more of an impact on Roe v. Wade than my failing to donate additional monies to your organization every time you call. I'm just saying.

My current favorite charity is Kiva, a micro-finance organization that allows me to "loan" money to entrepreneurs in developing countries. The money is disbursed through a local financial institution, and when repaid, I can "loan" it out again. Updates on my entrepreneurs are sent periodically via e:mail, and they don't hound me for additional contributions. I like it because I'm more intimately involved in the use of my contribution, and again, they don't hound me for additional contributions. My "lenders page" can be found here if you're interested.

This year for the holidays, I'm also sharing a lender's account with my friend Amy. We're choosing the businesses we want to support together, and we're both contributing to the account. We figured that's much better than giving each other more crap.

So here's a news flash to my charities: STOP CALLING/EMAILING/WRITING ME. I know who you are, and I know what type of work you do. I'm capable of looking up your financial results to determine if you're doing a good job of serving your constituents, and I don't need your PR materials. Save your money, and if I want to contribute to your cause, I will. If I don't, I won't. It really is that simple. Don't make me go medieval on your ass.

12 comments:

Shawn Powers said...

I suggest a donation to the Powers Chumbification Society. Not only do 100% of the proceeds go to the cause, but those who donate also get exclusive rights to an online viewing of the native cultural dance.

Like Scalzi says, however, some things can't be unseen... ;)

Janiece Murphy said...

Shawn, I've learned my lesson on things that can't be unseen. Man, have I learned my lesson.

I don't know much about the Chumby's...what makes them different from the other gadgets? Or should I even care?

Shawn Powers said...

Chumbies are about the coolest things evar. They are "open" for development, in that their sofware and hardware are both documented and open source. They are WiFi, and do all sorts of neato stuff.

Alarm clock, photo frame, RSS reader, eBay auction tracker, streaming radio player, and anything else you wanna program it to do. And they come in the Latte color, so you just know they're full of teh awesome. ;)

Janiece Murphy said...

Ah. Well, I'll leave it to you to do the development. I'm not really a software geek, although many of the applications I work with reside on Linux servers and such.

I also have a firm rule that I don't want to be too accessible - I tend to be somewhat suspicious of mobile devices.

So I don't see a Chumby in my future. I'm sure you'll have fun with yours, though. :-)

Jim Wright said...

I routinely make donations to charities, and like you have been stalked relentlessly afterward, but for sheer creepy stalkerdom my pick is the fraternal order of police. Holy friggin crap! Never again.


Now, if you'll excuse me - I need to go find out what a 'chumbie' is...

Janiece Murphy said...

"Chumby" does sound kind of dirty. If it had come from anyone besides Shawn, I would not have followed that link.

MWT said...

Coincidentally I was just writing a letter in my head a few days ago to some of the organizations that keep bombarding me with gifts (address labels, gift wrap and cards, calendars, etc.) and bribes for more gifts.

"Dear [organization],

Please stop sending me mail. You've found me. I've found you. I'll donate through your website whenever I have money. Please stop wasting your postage and paper on me."

:p

It's even more annoying because if you donate to
one of them, you're suddenly on the mailing lists of ten other ones, some of them only remotely related to whatever you donated to. On the bright side, at least I'll never have to handwrite my own address on anything ever again.

Oh well, the Season of Giving will go away in another month...

Janiece Murphy said...

MWT, it certainly makes me want to put my fingers in my ears and start singing "lalalala-I-can't-hear-you."

Season of Giving, my ass.

Signonthedottedline said...

Hehehe, one little letter typo and you have chubby......

Signonthedottedline said...

On a more serious note Janiece, there are 2 women, both in nasty places (Tajikistan and Azerbaijan) that would be good to lend to. Unfortunately I am unable to log in to do it. Could be teh loose nut behind the controls, but could you hook a sister up? Thanks!

Janiece Murphy said...

Amy, I sent you the access info for our Kiva Account. Go gal-pals in Tajikistan and Azerbaijan!

Signonthedottedline said...

I got it right! Now we have loaned money to 4 women around the world to make a strike against oppressive idiots! YAY!