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It’s that time of year, when we all hear how we are are so fortunate and how we simply must help out the less fortunate. Here at Potato Inc there have been a series of activities for all of November to get money out of our pockets so that there can be a hefty donation to the United Way. Now don’t get me wrong, they do wonderful work, and I think it’s a noble cause to try and raise money for charity. What I take issue with is my fellow inmates trying to guilt me into participating with my wallet.

Some of the activities have been a karoake night (I sing in the shower, not in public), beer & wine sales on Friday afternoons (I don’t drink), getting .04% of my pay deducted to go to the United Way and I win cos I get a day off for free (I did the math, I’d be donating exactly one day’s salary, so it’s not free). And like I said, charity drives are all fine and good, but I take serious issue with peeps trying to guilt me into donating. One such creature was Monica, that illuminating light of accountantcy that resides in my department.

Obviously Monica had to shift her entire schedule about to assist in this charity drive. Please take note of my sarcasm here. The wench barely works, and when she does the quality is fairly lacklustre. Monica tried to cajole me into forking over my cash, with the refrain of “oh come on, you don’t want to be a scrooge do you?”.  My eyebrow shot up, and I rather tersely said I do not appreciate pressure tactics.

And once this charity drive is over (which mercifully will be by next Monday) there will be the preparation of care packages for unfortunately families during Christmas. Last year I was given the option of hunting through dollar shops or just fork over $20.00. I handed over the cash. I won’t be doing either.

It’s not that I am not charitable, or that I hold onto my pennies with a tight grasp. I just prefer to donate to causes that are near & dear to me. As can be attested by my blog posts I have medical issues. So whenever I donate it tends to be to health related charities, like The Kidney Foundation, or a hospital. I also donated to the Canadian Opera Company this year – cos I think art is important and should be affordable. I also donated to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, for the same reason.

Why my reticence over The United Way? Their administrative costs eat too much of the donor dollars, I like seeing a greater proportion of my donated dollars going to the intended programmes, and not to items such as fundraising advisors.

Just this past weekend I took part with my Rotary Club in helping to spruce up a women’s crisis shelter’s yard & garage. I enjoyed it, I was doing something I believed in, and there was excellent fellowship. And that’s what is at the root of my disenchantment with the charity drives here at work, I need to believe in something before I hand over my money. And I don’t believe in my fellow co-workers’ tactics, nor in the way the UW functions.