Had a funny visit from a door-knocker last night, collecting on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.
Started off nice enough, idle chit-chat. Then he asked me if I had any personal experience of heart issues? I must admit, I often fall into this trap. It’s obvious to me that I walk strangely, that my arm doesn’t work etc. but I suppose it’s not obvious to someone else, especially when I just met them. Anyway, I explained to him that heart attack and stroke are very closely-related. I even told him that I did voluntary work myself for a couple of charities – we might be fooled into think that fundraisers are doing so out of kindness, but they’re actually paid employees of the charity – it’s nothing more than a job to them. I’m kinda happy that with the few charities that I have real feelings for, my effort is given, not sold.
He then directly asked me to contribute a regular payment. I explained that, because of the stroke, I was disabled, and told him the benefit I had to live on. It puts me in the realm of around £80 per week, so even the £1 per week he was asking for was significant. If he’d known his stuff, he’d have known this – my benefit rates are on public record.
But even then, he wouldn’t leave me alone. Still wanted money. In the end I sent him away with a rather blunt “no”. I went from a state of pleasantness, to a state of frustration, wanting him to go away, because the guy didn’t show any signs of understanding what I was telling him.
This guy was obviously being paid to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, but he didn’t care about who he raised the money from. In fact, when I thought about it later, it’d probably be more appropriate for them to help me, than to ask me for money. So I wrote to BHF to complain at the pushiness of this guy. When somebody explains that they live on such-and-such a benefit, fundraisers should know the implications of that, in pounds and pence. The BHF in particular, as so many people who’ve experienced heart attack will be living on the same benefit as me.
I do think that, long-term, these charities shoot themselves in the foot because the next time somebody from there knocks on the door, I’ll just say a blanket “I’m not prepared to contribute to your charity”, whatever position I happen to be in, just because a previous fundraiser was so pushy. It’s a shame, really, because they are probably a good cause – but most charities are good causes, and we have to use more subjective criteria to decide whether we donate or not.