These days, a visit to the mall can mean getting stopped by an eager sales person every few steps. For someone who goes with a list of things to do and plans to leave as soon as they are all done, I don’t really have a lot of patience for them. No, thank you I do not plan to fix the sun spots on my face. Yes, I have wrinkles but so do you so I am not buying your product. No, thank you I am not planning to buy a multi-million condominium – I’m just on my way to getting fruits from the grocery. No, thank you but I do no need another credit card – and I am rushing to a salon appointment.
But now there are charity booths too, and for those, I try and stop and see if I can help. Raised in a middle-income household, I knew from a young age that acts of charity can make a real difference in the lives of people, and there were several times those acts of charity were extended to my family.
And so I allowed myself to be cornered by a young lady. She said she is a college student and signed up to help raise funds part-time. She is not a volunteer – she receives a small pay for the hours she clocks in. She then launched into her spiel and it was a good one, although a bit rushed and I suspect she was timing herself or she was worried I will rush off. At the end of it, she gave me a list of giving options. They weren’t so bad considering the world of good they plan to do with it.
I was about to make a donation using cash when she told me they only accept credit cards and I must commit to at least 6 months of donations. I was offended because she refused my cash, and she will not accommodate one-time donations. I left and told her it’s your loss.
But that sparked my curiosity, more so because hers was the first of many charity booths I began to see in my shopping excursions. So wearing my journalist hat, I decided to dig deeper and get some answers from the next unsuspecting fundraiser that I met.
Turns out they are not employees of the charities. He explained that they work for a company engaged in commercial fundraising. They have the same job as any salesperson you see in other sales booths – it’s just that they peddle a different product. And for him, the product makes all the difference because while many say no and turn away, he is not discouraged as he knows he is doing this for a good cause.
Most charities are undermanned and the few people they have are usually stretched to capacity. They are expected to perform a wide range of administrative work, plus engage with their stakeholders, and carve time to also raise funds. It’s heroic work for sure, but not easy. And that’s why they turn to commercial fundraisers.
I will not bore you with the details of the business model for commercial fundraising but I will encourage you to give, and to give monthly. Regular gifting programs allow charities to better plan their resources and focus on what they do best – helping those in need.
They’re not asking for big sums too – you can start with P20 a day or P600 monthly. Just think if you were on their shoes, wouldn’t you want some guarantee that funds are coming your way every month for the next six to twelve months? If you work every day but no guarantee that you will receive a salary next month, how can you sleep at night?
If you are looking at charities to support, let me end with some great options, listed alphabetically below. I confess these organizations are child-centered and that’s my personal bias. People in need are vulnerable, but children even more so, and that’s why they are a great place to start when you want to help.
And because sunshine is a great disinfectant, let me say too that I serve as trustee for one of them (Childhope Philippines) and a foundation member of another (World Vision). I have also personally and professionally donated to two others (Children’s Hour and Save the Children).
This 30-year old charity is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for children and families living on the streets. It’s typhoon season and just imagine the hardship and indignity of not having a home where you can seek shelter as the rains pour down and the streets get flooded. One-time donations are welcome, or you can sign up for regular giving with as little as P150 a month.
Salaried employees may find this giving model more attractive. As their name implies, they appeal for donations of at least one hour of your salary or earnings once a year. The organization in turn donates their pooled funds to charities aligned with its advocacy.
Save the Children
Save the Children has a rich 100-year history helping children around the world. For more than 30 years, they have dedicated themselves in giving underprivileged Filipino children a healthy start in life. When disaster strikes, they are at the forefront of saving lives and also actively aids in the rebuilding efforts that are just as urgently needed. Monthly donations start at P600, and used to treat malnourished babies from low-income families.
SOS Children’s Villages
SOS Children's Villages has been present in the Philippines since the 1960s. They provide day care, essential services such as health care, assistance to families in need, and homes for children and young people. You can choose to donate any amount once, or commit to a monthly giving program that starts at P600 or P20 a day. The P900 monthly donation can provide a child at least 3 nutritious meals a day.
For P750 a month, you can sponsor a child and become a World Vision partner in providing her or him, and their community, life-changing basic needs including education, health and nutrition, disaster preparedness, livelihood and protection. One-time donations are also accepted.
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We’re a few days away from Be An Angel day, which is a holiday started by Jayne Howard Feldman in 1993 to encourage people to do random acts of kindness. August 22 is a good day to put the needs of others before yourself. You can start by supporting these charities or just pay it forward with small acts of charity. Plant a tree. Visit an elderly home. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Donate clothing you no longer need. Embrace generosity and be not just an angel, but a blessing to others.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.