Monday, January 28, 2013


School kids are an important mechanism to get donations for charity. I don’t really know the reasoning behind why kids are made to go collect money, but thinking out loud it may be – to create a sense of discipline about money early in their lives or to make them feel that they contributed to a noble cause.

Anyway, I think the intention has always been very clear – it’s the children who have to go and collect the funds. It’s their sweetness and innocence that makes the donor contribute her bit to their cause.

I remember my good old days going door to door collecting funds for some charity. Not only were people extremely stingy, but at most places, I got free things to eat but not a cent in my kitty. I mean, the amount of stuff that I got to eat could have easily been valued at more than 5 times the amount that I actually collected. I learnt an important lesson – people are ready to give away non-monetary things much more easily. But now that I look back, I might very well be eating stale left overs (somehow all I ever got was cold-stuff from the friendly neighbor’s fridge).

But these days, I have found a new trend going on. Parents, bring their kids’ donation card to the office and then make all co-workers contribute. Also to make sure that we don’t set a low bar, the parents put in their first donation which is like a huge number. Then to fit in and not look like a heartless soul, every single body in the office puts in the same amount as what the parent contributed.

In the last week itself, I have spent like a week of my salary donating money to kids whom I have neither seen nor do I know they exist. My only connection with them and the charity (which I know nothing of) is their parents! Sometimes its so bad, that I don’t even know what I am contributing for!

I could very well print a card and take it to office saying it is for my kid’s charity and put some insane figure as my contribution and make others do the same. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely for donations. And if I meet school kids on the street asking me to support their cause, I do put in spare change. But what these parents do is just plain extortion.

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