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Saturday, June 7, 2008

"Required" Donations

I received an annual bill this week. I won't name what it was, but it was an expected bill. What I didn't expect was the additional $1 tacked on to the bill to a charitable organization.

At first, I was a little frustrated. I am very careful to choose good organizations to donate my money, goods, and time to. I don't want my money going to an organization that wastes the donations. I use Charity Navigator to check out organizations before I donate, just to be sure that it's a place I really want my money to go.

But it was only a dollar. And I figured it would take too much time and effort to get the $1 donation taken off my bill, so I figured that I would just pay it.

Conveniently, when I went online to pay, I discovered I had the option to check a box and not donate to the organization. Before I opted out, I used Charity Navigator to do a bit of research on the group, and found that it wasn't one I would normally donate to. Sure, they do good things, but Charity Navigator pointed out that a lot of their money went to administrative tasks and not to the cause at hand. Naturally, I opted out.

And to ease my conscience, I put an extra $1 into my charity budget category for the month.

How do you feel about these "required" donations? I don't mind so much when you can opt-in to a donation, but I struggle with the idea of opting out. Of course, if it were a good charity I supported, I would probably have a different view. Most people likely figure "Oh, it's only $1" and donate without thinking, which is great for the charity.

Maybe I'm just being too picky about one dollar tacked onto an annual bill.


Mrs. Accountability said...

Oh, that would bug me. I know, I know, it's ONLY twelve dollars a year, but still, it's my money, I earned it, and I will give donations to whom I choose, not to a place that someone else has decided. So, I don't think you're being picky. :-)

Mama Bear said...

I've never heard of this - maybe because I'm Canadian and we don't have this sort of thing here...or we do and I just don't know about it.

But I wouldn't feel bad about opting out - especially if you added a $1 to your donation account anyway.

It's unfair to force charitable giving onto someone considering that would make me feel less charitable!

Andrea said...

That would seriously annoy me! Whether you normally donate money or not, that is your $1 to make a decision about--not theirs. I applaud your effort to look up the charity first before making your decision. Many would just pay it without thinking.

I don't discourage charitable donations, but in these times $1 could mean a lot to someone trying to make it. So to me trying to force someone to donate their money is pretty low. Some people just don't have the money and some donate time rather than money.