The day after I moved to London, I was stopped in the street by a representative from a national charity. I am normally one of the people who doesn’t look directly at people in these roles, in the hopes that I can carry on with my day without too much interference, and without having the representative give me their spiel, for me to politely decline and walk away, still carrying on with my day. It saves my time, it saves theirs.
I’m a huge believer in charity, but these street representatives really wind me up. I believe in giving what you can, when you can, to a charity you want to give to, and I don’t believe that having someone shove a charity down your throat and signing up to something just because you feel as though, in a truly English fashion, it would be rude not to.
For some reason that day a few weeks ago, I stopped and spoke to the guy on the corner outside Tooting Broadway station. He was friendly, and I knew that I was in a position to possibly sign up to a scheme like this, so I was happy to provide my details. I gave them my mobile number, and one line of my address. Then maybe two or three days later, I began getting calls on my landline, a number I hadn’t provided the charity with. So from my name and the one line of my address (not even the flat number) they had actively sought out my phone number, and began calling me on it on a regular basis. Though I know it’s easy enough to access this kind of information, I was pretty irritated that the charity in question didn’t bother to use the methods of communication I’d given them, but found another method of communication to contact me by.
This all made me probably quite unnecessarily irritated. I felt that it was grossly inappropriate for them to use a method of communication I had not provided them with, and as such, when I eventually spoke to them, I told them in no uncertain terms to jog on.
But then I got to thinking, that charity pissed me off, but there were other charities who deserve my donations. And then I realised there’s only one charity I would want to give a regular donation to. And that’s Butterwick Children’s Hospice. Butterwick is a small hospice in Teeside that looks after children with life limiting diseases, and those of you who know me, will know how much this charity means to me. It is a truly special organisation which gives moments of happiness and respite to those who are living with a time limit. I’ve watched it have a positive impact on a family, and it touched my heart in a way no other charity has ever done.
I don’t run marathons, I don’t throw myself out of planes, I don’t have a lot to spare, but I want to begin a lifelong partnership with Butterwick, even if, like at the moment I can only donate a small sum a month.
This isn’t me dissing other charities, or blowing my own donor trumpet, it’s just a collection of thoughts. If there’s something you care about, there’s something you can do about it, even if it’s just a little financial support once in a while. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll run the London Marathon with a Butterwick banner. I’m not too optimistic about that though…