July 01, 2012

No good deed goes unpunished

One reason I don't like giving money to various causes is that doing so always, always lands you on a mailing list, where you get mail (or email, if it was all online) telling you how things are going, emphasizing how the need is still great and we'd really love it if you'd give us even more money.

I gave a bunch of money to the Aaron Walker legal defense fund, and they did that. I had to try twice to get them to stop sending the things, and I'm still not sure it worked.

It made me regret making my gift, and makes me that much less likely to do it again the next time something like this happens.

I shudder to think how much crap and annoyance I'd receive if I made a contribution to some politician's election campaign. The idea fills me with dread.

That's one reason why I as an atheist don't mind giving money to the Salvation Army. They don't do that. On several occasions (for instance, those terrible fires in Australia a couple of years ago) I've given donations to the Salvation Army, and I've never received any such begging come-ons afterwards.

They understand that when someone gives you a gift, it's immodest to nag them for further gifts. A gift is a boon, not an entitlement. A donor is a benefactor, not an opportunity. The proper response is gratitude, not hustling.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Rants at 12:15 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
Post contains 243 words, total size 1 kb.

1 That's why I don't donate to gun groups anymore. SAF, I'm looking at you.


I once gave $5 to a guy standing out in the rain on Christmas Eve just before midnight. I figured he had to be totally desperate to be there at that time.

Unfortunately, it was on my work route, it was his regular spot, and he brightened up every time he saw me for weeks. I don't even know how he recognized the car; it was pretty generic.

He was the last guy I gave money to on the street.

Posted by: refugee at July 01, 2012 01:00 PM (ayoGu)

2 What's more, sending you snail-mail letters, brochures, calendars, etc. asking for more costs them money.  There are a couple charities I've given to in the past who I think actually lost money due to my modest contribution.  One sent me a large box which contained multipage glossy brochures, a DVD, and a VHS tape telling how much more money they needed from me...

Posted by: Siergen at July 01, 2012 01:05 PM (PuIGa)

I shudder to think how much crap and annoyance I'd receive if I made a contribution to some politician's election campaign.

Since the campaign warchest becomes part of the politician's boodle, I have no desire to give them a damned thing at all.

Posted by: Mark A. Flacy at July 01, 2012 01:13 PM (Zdi7L)


When I was living in Massachusetts, one time in a moment of weakness I gave some money to WGBH. About 8 months later, someone representing WGBH called me at work and pulled me out of a meeting. When I answered the phone, I heard, "Hi! We'd like you to pull your annual donation up to now, and we'd like you to double it." I don't recall what happened next, but I remember that I ended up shouting angrily, OK, send me the paperwork.

When it arrived in the mail, I tossed it. They never received another dime from me.

I'm pretty sure I know what happened. Some company went to WGBH and said, "If you give us your donors list, we'll get you even more money out of it than you get now." And WGBH decided to give it a try.

But after that stunt, whenever I heard that WGBH was having money troubles, I always felt a bit of satisfaction. Served the greedy bastards right.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 01, 2012 01:34 PM (+rSRq)

5 By the way, I don't have any idea how they found out where I worked.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 01, 2012 01:44 PM (+rSRq)

6 You have a somewhat uncommon name. That probably made it much easier for them.

Posted by: at July 01, 2012 05:34 PM (L1IVj)

7 (Last comment was from me. I'm not sure why my username isn't showing up.)

Posted by: Boviate at July 01, 2012 05:35 PM (L1IVj)

8 Pixy? His name shows up on the sidebar for both comments, but not inline. Bug, maybe?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 01, 2012 05:39 PM (+rSRq)

9 Yes, that's odd.  I'll poke at it.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 02, 2012 12:45 AM (PiXy!)

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