"Would you like to purchase a box of spaghetti for the local food pantry?" - Conveniently, right there was a case of their store-brand spaghetti with the $1.00 price tag on each individual box. I asked - "So you'll take the box and put it into the collection bin near the door?" To which she quite happily exclaimed - "Yes!".
I politely declined the opportunity at that point.
You see - that store brand of spaghetti is always $1 per box - which means, the store is making a profit, even at the low price of $1. If I donated the full value of that $1 directly to the food-bank, then they could purchase so much more with it because of the buying power they have, certainly much more than 1 pound of spaghetti, that's for sure.
Now to the casual common observer - they probably thought that the grocery store was doing a nice thing by doing this, and I'm sure some of the staff did as well, but I was really turned off by the gesture and considered it an insult.
It's one thing for me as a consumer to purchase a food items with the intention of donating it to a local food bank or church pantry to help someone who's fallen on hard times or needs a bit of assistance, but when you have your staff mindlessly shaming people into helping the company expand it's bottom line while making themselves look like a hero - I've got zero tolerance for that.
My wife has told me that I've ruined some things for her:
- Like the excitement she feels as Ellen gives every member in her audience all those gifts around the holidays, FYI: it's all calculated advertising, don't get me wrong - I know Ellen is an extremely generous person, but she's not footing the bill for all those gifts - that is advertising and product placement at its finest, and Ellen is great at it!
Look, I'm sorry if this post has ruined your positive thinking when it comes to how some businesses try to gain some notoriety for "doing a good thing" but if you want your donation to have the maximum impact, you have take some initiative to see how & where it's going.
In my current position, which I'm in my 15th year, I can tell you with 100% assurance that the company I represent and have coordinated a number of charitable efforts for goes above and beyond, and has really allowed me to use whatever means necessary in order to ensure complete and total delivery of whatever items or funds are donated to the intended destination. Wether it be toys during the holidays, clothing or tangible goods for local, national or international relief, to furniture & beds to those who are in need. Sure some of it is seen in our ads as part of our call-to-action campaigns, but there are also a lot of ways we have helped that are under the radar - done because it's the right thing to do, not for recognition.
Be mindful of where you make a donation. Take a few extra minutes to think about, research, or ask how the donation is used, where it goes - who benefits. You work hard for your money, and it's 100% your decision as to where 100% of that money goes, especially when you're donating to help someone in need.
How often have we heard "Charity begins at home"?
I'm sure there's plenty of need right in your own neighborhood. Be intentional & keep it local.
It's the best way to see your donation/investment grow and improve the lives of those around you.