The slightly incoherent “opinion piece” by Michelle Stirling-Anosh: Who do charity drives really help? in the Sept.10 Advocate left me rather perplexed. What, exactly, was her point?
Of course, we are constantly bombarded by requests for charitable donations — large (bloated, obscene prizes for costly lotteries) — and small (a buck or two for some cause). Corporate sponsorships for larger causes are nothing new. They often involve their employees, usually focus on one major cause, and “vet” that for authenticity. Sort of scratching each other’s back, in a businesslike way.
Requests that arrive in personal mail are very often for close-to-home causes like hospitals, or STARS medical helicopters. I gather that Stirling-Anosh’s cosy little town of Ponoka has such vigorous citizens that they never require these services; and look after themselves in true Alberta style. Lucky them!
The loonie-a-shot causes found in box stores, etc., may even make some folks on lower income feel good about putting an occasional buck into a larger need. If not, there is a very easy way out. A polite “no thanks” should suffice. You do, after all, have a choice in the matter.
Incidentally, should you decide to contribute to a particular request, that cause can easily be investigated via their annual reports, or online, as to how much of their revenue goes into administration, publicity, etc. Then you can make an informed choice, and await your tax receipt.
As well, most of these organizations now have a place where you can indicate that they not share your name and address with other causes. This works quite well.
It strikes me that $1, at the time Terry Fox was stirring our consciences, would likely be equivalent to $10 in today’s currency. In most cases, that will bring you a tax receipt — if that is all you really want from donating to your chosen charitable works. It’s probably worth noting that, if we had a graduated income-based taxation system in Alberta, many more needs could be covered by a government that we could hold to account as they managed that revenue for our benefit. (Just a thought).
Stirling-Anosh’s reference to the redoubtable Sir John A. Macdonald and his “donated” lifetime is irrelevant. He was a great guy, but also an elected and duly salaried politician.
To conclude, I am amazed at this columnist’s ability to “strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel.” I refer, of course, to her previous calm endorsement of torture as a useful tool in modern civil society — followed by her getting quite bent out of shape by totally optional requests for funds to possibly enhance life in that society.
Might I kindly suggest a small re-evaluation of priorities might be in order, before more trees are sacrificed to another such column?