I don't know about you but I find that any charitable donation I do make tends to be spontaneous. I see someone with the hand out and I make an instant value decision as to what I'll do, (or not). Once done however, I forget it instantly and much like betting, I don't hand over what I cannot afford.
Collection boxes clattering in city centers were always to the beat of the christmas carols at this time of year. The schools collect for homes for the elderly while the usual charities are much in evidence as well. Your lapels could be festooned with colored stickers on your return home with Santa's goodies.
In recent years though this simple exchange in the street has had a makeover. The charities no longer want your petty coppers and even your silver is frowned upon. The collector isn't anymore an innocent bashful individual with a smile but is more likely to be a pushy sales type with a clipboard. Because now you see, they want your signature instead of your cash. With your signature they get the promise from you to pay a fixed amount automatically every month from your account and their hope is that you won't notice the ten or twenty euros on your bank statement afterwards.
The collector too is incentivised. They get a percentage cut of the action for their day's work and this makes me wonder how that commission is paid on your signature. If there is an accountant involved, and there's always a fucking accountant lurking when there's a smell of money, then we can assume they have a historical record of how long it takes the average punter to cop on. You can almost hear them now saying something like, "A typical standing order like this would normally yield the same amount over eleven months before cancelation." So if you've pledged a tenner then it is the same to the bean counter as a cheque for €110.00 today. I can only surmise then that the collector gets his cut based on that figure.
This would explain the 'in-your-face' attitude of a lot of these bozos. They don't so much collect from you as confront you. I have seen these clipboards sizing up the unsuspecting shoppers in search of a patsy or victim. Personally these aggressive types get short shrift from me but I have noticed them descend on poor befuddled old ladies and heard them use their smarmy tones about their 'good cause.' But these are only the self-serving foot soldiers.
The ones that truly get to me are the managers of these charities. Over the last few years we have seen enormous six-figure salaries associated with these people and one can only dream of the kind of expenses they can claim for. Naturally you would have to think that when they sit down to write up the next year's budget the very first items of expenditure listed are their own remunerations. In some quarters it is estimated that as little as five cent in the euro goes to the needy in any charity. The rest is called operating expenses. So when I see an old tramp sitting in the cold and wet on Patrick's Bridge with his cap on the ground in front of him, I know that one hundred per cent of what I toss into that cap will be spent by that very tramp. If a pint is what he thinks he needs then so be it. After all, you don't get to dictate to the Irish Cancer Society as to what they spend your daffodil day subscription on, do you?
So, give to the real poor this yuletide!