Should you give at the register?
Posted on January 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm
Your power as a donor lies in the decisions you make about which charity to fund and how much to give. While this may not seem like much, in reality it’s tremendously powerful. Charities are in constant pursuit of donor dollars. The more donations they receive the more they can grow and expand their programs. The fewer donations they receive the greater the risk to their programs and the entire organization. Therefore, behaviors that donors reward with donations get more emphasis and resources, while behaviors that cause donors to withhold donations get discontinued or hidden from public view.
Last weekend the Wall Street Journal came out with a story on the growing trend of stores asking for charitable donation at the cash register. I hate these solicitations because they ask donors to give without providing any information on the quality or impact of the aid they provide. Evaluating information about charities before giving is key to good donorship.
If you want charities to have a larger impact – give only to those charities that already provide proof of their impact.
If you want charities to become better at evaluating their work and improving their practices - give only to those charities that regularly evaluate their work and share both their findings and how they’ve improved their practices with donors.
If you want charities to coordinate better with other organizations to ensure that they are complementing, not duplicating, each others work - give only to those agencies that already actively coordinate with other agencies.
If you want more charities to solicit you by phone - give to those charities that already solicit you by phone.
If you want more charities to ask for donations at the cash register - give to charities already asking for donations at the cash register.
Your donor decisions impact how charitable organizations direct their time and resources. Make sure you’re only rewarding those behaviors that you believe are important to good aid.