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. And with Christmas approaching, the number of charitable letters increases. Bah Humbug.
But I’m not a total meanie. Last year I bought my son ‘sponsorship’ of an animal at an animal park we had visited occasionally. It wasn’t a massive amount – around £40 –and it gave junior a yearly pass to visit ‘his’ animal. But after a year interest in watching his honey badger (a bit like a non-stinky skunk that’s been run over by a steamroller) run around waned. 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 was listed as pending on my bank account. I rang the honey badger’s home to complain. Apparently they’d emailed me. As they seemed 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 did stop the payment when I asked. But it does leave a nasty taste and possibly a hungry honey badger on my conscience.