Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Giving Tuesday, Going Broke

I like the concept of Giving Tuesday. Truly, I do. Charitable giving has been part of my budget for many years, a specific sum I have committed to donate each month to a worthy organization. I have a small, trusted, set of charities that I support in a revolving manner. For example, I contribute to military organizations in May and November (Memorial Day, Veterans Day); food-centric charities in November (Thanksgiving); toy drives in December (Christmas). There's a margin built into the budget for unexpected disasters such as wildfires, tsunamis, and earthquakes.

I provide this painstaking personal detail to emphasize that, 1) I firmly believe in consistent support of charitable causes, and 2) almsgiving is an integral part of my value system and lifestyle. With all that said--I am bone weary of Giving Tuesday.

In a perfect world, all charitable organizations would be as meticulous in disbursing their donations as they are in maintaining contact databases. Every stray charity I have ever donated a dime to has been hounding me for weeks via every communication means available. I've been bombarded with email pleas, telephone solicitations, snail mail letters and donation forms. Even my workplace has, for the past several days, sent lengthy email entreaties to all employees for donations to "the Foundation." (Wait, I'm at work--aren't you supposed to give me money?)

My college wants money, too, and they have been especially persistent. In fact, this year they've been so annoying that I'm considering cutting them off permanently. My charity allocation for the month of June (graduation season) always goes to my alma mater, but evidently that's completely insufficient when Giving Tuesday rolls around. I'll think twice next June.

The accounting slates seem to be wiped clean of any remaining balances, and the hapless giver is accosted by an insistent army of demanding, self-entitled charities. If I gave even a modest amount to each and every request I've received this month, I'd have to tap my retirement savings to buy groceries next week. Is that the goal?

Come on, nonprofit organization people, back off. You don't have to explain this to me--or to most Americans. Do you realize that in 2017, Americans gave more than $410 billion to charity? Yes, I know--we're fortunate in this country, we're blessed with riches most of the world can only dream of, and we should give back to those in need. But I don't need a special day of the year to remind me to do it. For Giving Tuesday, I'd like you to give me a break.