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Tuesday, January 28, 2014


This time of year it seems to be a popular time to beg for dollars.  It is especially apparent if you watch TV after midnight.  I watch a lot of TV after midnight.  I do this because I can. 

Every charity, and I am sure some of them are legit and worthwhile, wants me to send fifty cents a day, or “Just the price of a newspaper” and I can:

Save a child from starving to death.

Save a dog from being beaten to death.

Give a needy child plastic surgery.

Save a whale.

Stop the planet from getting hotter.

Save the rain forest.

Stop the slaughter of seals.

Feed an old person.

Take a homeless person off the street.

Put a child through college.

All of these TV ads for charity are narrated by a famous actor with an immensely sad voice as pictures of suffering people and animals cross my screen. 

“For just pennies a day, the cost of a newspaper, you could give a child three meals a day, a home out of the weather, books for school and a pair of shoes.  Don’t you want to feed a child?”

Are all of these charities real?  Lots of charities spend 95 cents on the dollar for “administration costs.” 

Thank you for putting that enormous amount of guilt on me late at night when I am trying to go to sleep.  Thank you filthy rich actress who probably claims her time making this commercial as a tax deduction, thank you for making me feel like shit.  I would like to help all these causes, but I do give to other stuff.  I give to charities I know and that are established and that use the money for the cause they say it is used.   I don’t need your guilt trip.

Besides, I don’t buy a newspaper anymore.

If you are feeling like you would like to make a difference visit an amazing blogger, Dr. Vinny, and support his good work. 


  1. I am lucky. My husband is in charge of writing checks for charity. Me? I guess giving a hand in the soup kitchen and taking cans of food for the local pantry is humble enough.

  2. I can understand your healthy skepticism. Many of these send cents on the dollar on to the charity they represent. But like you point out, there are lots of charities right in your back yard that do the same...take care of abandoned animals, feed and clothe people, etc. Those are the ones I like to support.

    On a larger scale, I do like Kiva. They make loans to the poor worldwide, then when the loans are paid back, you can loan it again.

    Honestly, I have more than I need, and like they say, you can't take it with you, right?


  3. I'm pretty sure any group that has enough money to purchase television spots already has enough.

  4. Giving to charity should not be painful. Plus when I see famous (and fading) actors and politicians urging me to buy insurance or reverse mortgages I just get mad. Guess I'm a cranky old man today, too.

  5. I give to the church, which has a generous charitable giving policy, to the Salvation Army, to the RAF Benevolent Fund and to Help the Heros. That's it. I think the work done by these organizations covers all the 'come ons' you can't be sure of on TV and elsewhere.

  6. I'm with you on this one Cranky. I give only to those who use the money as it is intended to be used, not for lining their own pockets.

    One way to feel out a charity is to give them something off their wish list or something you know they can use. Something, just not money. How it is received speaks volumes as to how the organization is run and maintained. If nothing else, I try to give some of my time. Again- how it is received is a big sign of how those in charge are handling things.

  7. Since the begging is apparently working, it will continue.

  8. the ones that really chap my britches are those that send a nickel in their mailout - saying something about 'just a nickel a day' blah blah blah. any charity that spends REAL money (in addition to all the printing costs, etc.) will not get a dime of mine.

  9. I rely heavily on my mute button when these solicitations air. I used to love that "Wings of an Angel" song but now I can't stand it.

  10. Hey, how does one get on the benefit list of "feed an old person?" Think I qualify.
    Seriously, Sarah could ruin my day. She breaks my heart and I have to leave the room. My local dog shelters get my surplus dollars.

  11. You remind me of all the support I gave our local library once upon a time, before grandchildren. Maybe someday I can do it again.

  12. We give a great deal to charity, but we keep track of their solicitations. If they solicit too often or send us gifts, we stop!!

  13. we saw bunches of this first hand in '11 after the floods. the area was teeming with beggars looking to cover their admin costs. usually a lot better to go straight to the organizations 'on the ground'.

  14. I can't watch those Sarah commercials. I turn the channel. When I worked for the state unemployment office, we got a list of charities every year showing the percentage of administrative costs. That way we could make informed decisions for our charity payroll deductions. The highest I remember seeing was 85%. Can't remember which one, but I know I didn't donate to it!

  15. I don't know about late night beggers on tv because I don't stay up that late anymore...but you know what gets me is the check out at the grocery store. I can't even buy milk without the checker asking me, "Would you like to donate a dollar to the _______ fund today?" as she/he finishes ringing up my groceries. Gah, leave my wallet alone, already. And I HATE saying "NO" because there's people all around me, and I feel like the the whole dang store goes quiet right at that moment, waiting to hear if I'll give up a simple dollar to charity. So what I say instead of NO is "Not today" -- see, by saying NOT TODAY it is implying that on other days I DO give a dollar. Of course as soon as I dodge that bullet at the check-out, I'm hit up by the Girl Scouts at the exit, just waiting to see me some cookies so that they can earn a trip to the zoo or some other place. It never ends.

  16. @Katrina, we ask because we're told to by management, there are actually competitions between stores to see who can raise the most. I only ever asked if the supervisor was working right next to me, because I don't like being asked either, so I know how the customers feel.