Friday Tirade

I am annoyed.   It happened in Santa Monica from time to time, but DC has a bunch more on a bunch more corners…people asking for money.  I’m not talking about homeless people.  No.  I’m talking about those preppy white I’m-working-at-a-non-profit-because-my-parents-can-pay-my-rent kids on almost every street corner asking money for the cause of the day.  And they see you coming about a block away and say ridiculous things like “do you have a minute to stop global warming today?”

The problem is that the corporations they work for are all good and just: CARE, Human Rights Campaign, Democrats, and others that I believe in.  But I do not believe in giving people money on the street – I prefer to donate online.  Like I’m gonna give some kid $20 cash because he has a 3-ring binder that has an emblem on it.  Or a check with my bank account number or my credit card number.  When I tell them that I’ll just donate online (because of course I get suckered in by stammering that I’m late for a meeting that starts in an hour cause I can’t get it together…where is my improv money going?!?), they all say that donating on the street helps to pay for the grassroots effort.  And I want to yell, “EXACTLY!!”  Quit bugging me.  I’m not going to give YOU money, nor do I support you freezing your ass off asking random folks on the street for money.  What does that accomplish? 

Which makes me wonder how much they raise that way.  I only gave one time to CARE because the guy had the best line “you can give with a credit card that is about to expire.”  Bingo!  Two months of payments and I’m home free.  Now leave me alone.

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  1. #1 by Corey on January 8, 2010 - 7:23 pm

    A friend of a friend of a friend worked for greenpeace doing that. They want you to donate on the street because they get paid by how many donations they get. They’re not out there for free in wind chills in the teens.

    And, yes, they’re annoying.

    • #2 by Megan on January 9, 2010 - 1:41 pm

      EXACTLY!!!!

  2. #3 by Devin on January 11, 2010 - 4:31 pm

    To defend the practice: While I actually have issue with the individuals being paid based on the number of names they bring in (which is the standard practice for most NPs using outreach staff that way), the method of direct interaction with potential donors and having knowledgable individuals out on the street to talk candidly about the mission, vision and impact of the organization is more valuable then anything else.

    To be honest though, this is something of a hold-over from a pre-digital age. What NPs would generally be better served doing (although good luck finding the volunteers to do it) is to put those same people out there asking “Do you have a moment to talk about (Cause here)” and then just engaging people and giving them material that will get them to their website if they sounds as if they’re in support of the issue. But hey, their budget is a few dozen times mine, I obviously know nothing.

    • #4 by Megan on January 12, 2010 - 6:03 pm

      I am all for promoting cause awareness on the streets; I’m more frustrated that a stranger would ask for money, much less be paid commission for it. And you’re right, this is certainly a hold-over from pre-internet days, so they should figure out a better way than standing on a corner. At least they aren’t ringing a bell like Salvation Army.

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