I used to shake my head sadly when I saw ‘Do Not Knock’ notices on people’s front doors. ‘Cranky old so-and-sos,’ I thought. Well—live and learn. I have lately joined the ranks of the cranky-old-so-and-sos and have now also attached one of these notices to my own front door.
Unfortunately, as I discovered this week, my polite little ‘Please Don’t . . . ‘ sign is obviously not bold enough to deter a rabid charity-door-knocker on a mission. I might just have to start looking for something a tad more forceful . . .
I had never been unduly bothered by solicitations by salespeople, bible toters or charity workers until quite recently. I monitor my home phone so I am able to pick up the calls I want and ignore those I don’t and I also put myself on the national ‘Do Not Call Register’, which, although I have no idea whether this is in any way effective at all, at least makes me feel as if I am being somewhat proactive.
I also tend to miss most ‘door-knockers as they usually make their rounds during the day, and at weekends the dogs usually hear anyone coming up the driveway long before I do, giving me plenty of time to prepare a polite response (‘Sorry—can’t talk now—eating.’) or, alternatively, find a place to hide and pretend I am not at home until they decide to move on. (Now, don’t give me that look. I am (almost) certain I could not possibly be the only one who has ever done that . . . )
I realise the competition is fierce. A quick on-line search reveals there are around 54,000 charities and not-for-profits now registered in Australia—each one jostling for our donation dollar. I am sure most of these charities do good work, and every one of them means something to someone or they wouldn’t have been started in the first place, but it makes me ever such a tiny bit irritated (as you might have guessed) that I now feel like I have to put measures in place in order to avoid their constant, increasingly pervasive, solicitations.
Admittedly, my irritation has been somewhat exacerbated by lately being on the receiving end of a couple of quite unpleasant (dare I say, aggressive) phone calls from charities I already regularly supported, and had supported for years—both wanting more, more, more. When I reminded one caller I already gave a monthly stipend he said, “I’ll stop calling if you double your donation”. I kid you not. Needless to say I did not double my donation and, in fact, stopped donating to that charity at all. It’s a shame, but I won’t be bullied. It also makes me wonder how many other loyal donors have been pushed to the point where they ‘no longer care’.
On the bright side there are lots of other ways I can contribute and continue to ‘do my bit’. I just have to start thinking about it differently. I have started to buy extra dog food and treats on my weekly shopping trips and putting them in the donation barrel for a local organisation that fosters and looks after homeless dogs. I regularly donate to local charity stores (and buy from them too) and will continue to do that. And lately I have been thinking that I should take up knitting again. I used to love to knit but haven’t done any now in years. After a quick search I found several sites that accept knitted donations. I can can knit squares for blankets, or beanies, or gloves, or even teeny tiny jackets for little bald parrots . . .
I’ve just had a thought. The next time I am caught by a charity caller I am going to stop them right in their middle of their well-rehearsed (and condescending) speil and hit them up with one of my own . . .
“You know your charity sounds fine, and I’m sure you do good things . . . but why not think about donating to mine? We need yarn—lots and lots of yarn. Just think of the good you would be doing, providing lovely new, warm, colourful clothes for people in need (and pouches for possums and teeny tiny jackets for featherless birds.) Only a dollar a day, that’s all I’m asking . . . and for only as long as you want to donate . . . (and, by the way, that really is a lovely shirt you are wearing, the colour really does suit you) . . . So, if you’d like to hand over your credit card details . . . “