Where did this preoccupation with fundraising get started? It’s not that I have any problem with giving or sharing. But the barrage of people asking for donations is astounding. When did it become socially acceptable to beg for a handout?
I know that some of you will say, “But how will people know that there is a need?” First of all, I strongly suggest that the word “need’ is very liberally applied to sooth the conscience of the beggar. Secondly, it is rare that any one person has a need that requires broadcasting to more than a few people. Beyond that, it is “wants” that funds are being solicited for.
Supposedly there are organizations that take care of needs for groups of individuals unable to care for themselves. Thoroughly addressing the weakness of that approach is not within the scope of this essay. Suffice to say that there is so much evidence of organizations becoming bureaucracies, and over time losing a sense of personal responsibility. Even those with the best of intentions, and limited resources, have trouble running a charity organization to the best benefit of its recipients. It always tends to be run to the best benefit of the organization first.
It is predominantly organizations that ask for substantially free money, or encourage other to do so. The same institutions that attempt to persuade of the moral and religious obligation to feed their coffers, are the ones with programs of participation that necessitate the participant to ask for donations. No matter the historical and economic proof that volunteering and freebies are harmful to any society, there is a growing wave of fundraising.
Possibly it is because there are many oppressive governments in power. I can understand the emotional appeal. So frequently, though, various charity systems, governmental or not, are propping up the corrupt officials. Maybe not directly, but by virtue of destroying any who might prosper. One must step back and ask if the donation that is apparently helping one family is actually prolonging poverty for all by spoiling the economy of the area.
If it is economically unsound and unnecessary to pour free goods and services into a truly destitute region, what possible excuse can there be for subsidizing activities in a relatively prosperous land? What are we teaching our children when we sanction the fundraising mentality? We certainly are not training them that if they want something, and we consider it outside the domain of parental provision, that they should work for it. We are not training them that if something is important enough to them, to get a job and make money to be able to share, after careful consideration. We are teaching them a subtle form of communism and welfare. We are teaching them to expect others to give them what they want.
It is ironic that our same culture, that has outlawed youth having gainful employment, has been expecting them to spend their time and energy fundraising. They aren’t allowed to work enough hours to do more than support hobbies or ostensibly save for further institutional education. But, “please, go door-to-door or ask everyone you know” to buy fairly meaningless and unsolicited doo-dads. The various institutions “need” more things, despite the huge sums they have already extorted from our incomes. Do these kids have any idea where the money is already being bled from? Do they have any idea of a budget? Would it do any good to tell them, since they have been trained to think that everything should be funded, no matter what the cost? The trouble is, the cost is never theirs.
Sometimes, the request is couched in moral or compassionate terms. I’m sorry, but I don’t need to pray about or thoughtfully consider giving our hard earned money to fund a team trip to Disneyland, or a vacation-I-need-to-find-purpose-in-life-travel-experience. We pay for our own children’s activities, to the extent that we can afford them or think them important enough to make part of the budget. We don’t ask anyone else to. When we are adults, we still pay for our own trips!
I’m not bitter. Just exasperated. We say we want our children to grow up and be responsible. If that word means anything, it means learning to earn enough money to take care of oneself and one’s family. Parents, don’t let your children grow up to be fundraisers.