There are a number of charities that I support with a regular, small donation.
I signed up to support one in particular over twenty years ago on the basis of an invitation to show my support for what they’re doing by committing to a regular, monthly gift on the understanding that by ‘standing with them’ in this symbolic way (even if the tangible gift was not that great) enabled them to demonstrate the breadth of their support in the UK.
The problem is, apart from an occasional update on what they’re doing and my regular small monthly gift, the only relationship I have with them is when the write to me, regularly, with project or need or other and invite me to send them more money.
Now don’t get me wrong – the issue ISN’T about being asked to help – I want to be able to able to make a difference.
I have a closer relationship with other charities, not least of which the ones I work with (and the one I work for, of course) and I don’t feel the same way about them, I value being involved in their situation and am not at all offended when, in the course of our normal relationship, I become aware of particular financial (or other) needs.
I don’t mind if organisations want to invite me into a process of building a stronger relationship with me by talking to me about the work they’re doing… but at least half the mail I get from them is a plain and simple request for money… rather than feeling inclined to increase my support it actually leaves me considering cancelling my existing contribution.
I think it’s about the strength and nature of our relationship – specifically it feels as if they are trying to pull too hard on a tenuous link; I decided what I wanted to give and I’ve demonstrated (over the long term) my commitment to that (and to them).
Perhaps they should find a smarter way to evaluate the strength of my commitment to them and stop trying to pull harder on me than I am willing to hold on to them!