Do You Have 'Charity Fatigue?'

From the ubiquitous red kettles to the option to round up to the nearest dollar at the register, there are many requests for consumers' charity this season.

It's rare to go through a checkout line without being asked for a donation. At PetSmart it's for animals; at Wendy's it's for adoption; at the Dollar Tree Store it's toys for military kids. And, let's not forget the jingle of the Salvation Army bell that sends many of us digging into our pockets.

It's true, needs are increasing yearly. One viewpoint is that if you're out shopping anyway, parting with an extra dollar here and there likely has little affect on your wallet—and if others do the same, the sum of all the small donations can make a big difference. 

But how do you decide when your donations are enough? Do you have to give each time to feel like you've helped? How do you walk through the cold past that kettle and the ringer of the bell one Facebook fan of Patch referred to as "the bell of guilt," and not feel like a cheapskate?

Donations can add up and some are tired of it.

Facebook user Adam posted this earlier in the week: "I'll go on record as saying that I hate this. After all, they are the ones making money on the transaction yet I'm the one being asked to donate. The snarky part of me wants to ask them if they'd like to donate the profit they just made from me to the charity in question."

Another Facebook user, Jess, said: "Everywhere I go they ask. It's overwhelming at times."

And it's not just on Facebook that people are complaining or questioning these in-your-face fundraising tactics. Columnist Sean Gonsalves wrote in the Cape Cod Times recently that he is starting to wonder if his "empathy muscle has atrophied."

Gonsalves said he is being bombarded in snail mail, email and most recently at his trip to the drive-thru. He refers to his feeling as "charity fatigue."

What do you think? Are you suffering from "charity fatigue?" Tell us in the comments.

Anne Shirley December 13, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I'd rather save my money for a bigger donation to a charity I've researched and feel good about than give these small, spur-of-the-moment donation in a checkout line where I don't really know how the donation is being used, what's going to administrative costs, etc.
Sam December 13, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Unfortunately the more the government takes away from us all, the less we tend to give to these charities. They are now forced to figure out different ways to raise the needed funds.
Vicky Geary December 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM
I agree - I would rather give a larger donation to the few charities I support than the checkout line donation. And that is exactly what I do. These days it is so frequent that I could scream at the end of the transaction if asked again about donating a dollar to XYZ. And unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. I get an average of 5 calls a week asking for charitable donations. And while I am on the National Do Not Call list, this list does not apply to charities and I have to request this individually. So I do have "charity fatigue"


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