Last weekend, an earnest young lady named Taylor Lewis knocked on my door. She was wearing a Sick Kids Hospital vest, and had a special tag hanging on a lanyard around her neck, identifying her as a certified agent of the hospital, empowered to represent the institution for the purposes of collecting donations. I listened to her enthusiastic descriptions of the good works the hospital was engaged in, and how the benefits of their highly successful research extended far beyond their walls, to other hospitals, and other countries.
She answered my questions forthrightly, and I was prepared to donate twenty bucks. Why not? As she showed me the form, it was evident they were looking for monthly donations, rather than a one time hit. Sure. That made sense. Fund raising is an expensive proposition. If you take a one time donation, you have to start all over again the next day. But if you find people prepared to donate monthly, it’s an ongoing revenue stream.
OK, I was thinking $5 a month wouldn’t make much of a difference to me, even though (annualized) it was three times what I had originally thought of donating. My earnest and forthright young lady looked at me with a winning smile and announced that they were asking people for $10 a month. That’s when I started feeling I was being hustled manipulated. I pushed back, saying I wasn’t prepared to go over $5 a month.
“Gee, I don’t know whether we’re even set up to take $5” she said. “Let me check into it.” As she was walking down the path, she turned around and asked “How about 7.50?” And in a move reminiscent of the sadly soon to be in the news Bernie Mac (in Bad Santa, my favourite Christmas movie), I held out five fingers and mouthed “five”. She continued on her way and that was the last I saw of her.
I’m glad to hear Sick Kids is doing so well they can afford to turn down my $60 bucks. I’m going to check Mount Sinai, Princess Margaret and Sunnybrook. If they turn me down too, maybe I don’t need to worry quite so much about charities and government cutbacks.