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November 28, 2011

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I don't know if the question for me personally is "What keeps me from giving?" as much as "What prompts me to give?" I give to different charities at different times ... but why? which ones? How do I choose? I guess it's the ones that "speak" to me at the time. The ones, that I feel a pull to give to at the time. I always give to my church and to organizations that I believe that the money goes to where it says it's going to.

On Boxing Day, I usually give $50 to Engineers/Doctors Without Borders, but this year I think I'm going to give to Journalists Without Borders. Other than that, my giving is spread out across the year, and it tends to be whatever strikes my fancy: NARAL, Kiva, the AIDS ride in San Francisco, the current weather related disaster, animal shelters, wildlife conservation, underprivileged schools--it really depends.

Two things keep me from giving. One is being broke. The other is those organizations that use chuggers--charity muggers. I don't like being accosted when I walk out my door to do errands. I won't support Planned Parenthood, the ACLU or some other organizations because their chuggers have compromised my quality of life. Likewise, excessive calls for cash turn me off.

One note about your work: I find your website incomprehensible. Although I'd like to give money, I'd like it to be easier. If navigating a website to donate takes too long, I just close the browser window.

I personally have my favorite charities that I'm loyal to already, with a yearly schedule set for when and how much I donate. It takes something really big for me to stray from my budget when it comes to charities, mostly because my budget is so tight already. Examples include earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes...

What I find really works is when a charity strives to have a guilt-free relationship with me. I'm more likely to shell out a few bucks if I'm gently reminded about past donations, thanked, and shown how my donations helped. Or even if I didn't donate, I still appreciate it when an organization gives examples of how small donations collectively help, by pointing out that when money is given by groups of people over time, it's still useful.

Overly aggressive begging keeps me from donating. So does asking for too much at one time.

What keeps me from giving is my budget foremost. In the past I was able to donate freely to charities of my choice. But when I was struck with a serious illness, I sustained a substantial wage loss when i lost my job because of it. In gaining employment again, I had to take a severe wage decrease that I still struggle with to stay on my feet to this day. This ecomony right now does not help matters.
Secondly I despise anyone soliciting to me by phone, mail or in person for donations. I prefer to be the one to decide without anyone soliciting me for it. I believe that giving to a charity is a persons freedom of choice regardless of the amount they are able to give.

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