I like to think that if I were loaded, I’d be a generous philanthropist, bestowing some of my wealth on those causes in need of cash. But frankly, the behaviour of some charities doesn’t currently make me feel kindly towards them.
Here’s why. We moved to our current house five years ago. It’s no exaggeration to say that every week we get several letters from charities to the previous owner. So, even though the charity hasn’t had any money emanating from this address for five years, it’s still mailing away, costing it (and thus its worthy cause) money. I wouldn’t be surprised if getting away from the begging letters was one of the reasons the old lady we bought this house from sold up.
But I’m not a total meany. Really. A year ago I bought my son ‘sponsorship’ of an animal at an animal park we visited occasionally. It wasn’t a massive amount – around £40 –and it gave junior a yearly passport to visit ‘his’ animal. But after a year of visiting, he’s had enough of watching his honey badger (a bit like a non-stinky skunk that’s been run over by a steamroller) run around. I wasn’t worried as I’d made a point of paying for the sponsorship on my debit card rather than setting up a direct debit because I didn’t want it to renew automatically after a year. Wrong. A payment to the animal park is currently listed as pending on my bank account. I ring the honey badger’s home to complain. Apparently they’d emailed me. As they seem to email every week telling us about the latest new animal arrival or whatever they might well have done. But I ignored all their emails assuming as I had not set up a direct debit, I was ok and I wouldn’t be billed for another year. Anyway, they say they’ll stop the payment. But it does leave a nasty taste: and possibly, a hungry honey badger on my conscience.
*Standing orders, direct debits and continuous authority: see our guide to the pros and cons of each.
*Feeling generous? See our ten point guide to giving to charity so both sides benefit