Saturday, 16 May 2015

Compassion fatigue.

I was touched by the report in yesterday's papers about the old lady who killed herself by jumping off the Clifton suspension bridge.

She had been a champion poppy seller in her youth and this impulse to raise money for charity had gone on throughout her life. She had supported many charities in various ways throughout her life until finally, worried by the escalating demands she had opted out altogether. There were other factors I am sure but the one most quoted were the large numbers of begging letters coming from charities.

The last time I blogged on this subject a friend said it was called compassion fatigue , that those of us who contribute regularly get fed up with constantly being asked for more!

This week I have had at least a dozen requests for more money and yesterday a request to leave the charity money in my will!

The fact that it's often a good cause makes the guilt factor kick in when I refuse.

Having sent money to Nepal, I got several more requests from similar charities....the same week.

I send regular money to the people helping Christians being persecuted in the Middle East. I feel no smugness in being able to do this . I am fortunate in being able to do it. But the law of diminishing returns is kicking in now. After a week of getting at least twenty requests for money or more money I am digging my heels in.

Charities must I think share the names of those who do subscribe. But they need to know that their constant requests are having the opposite effects.....I just sigh and put the letters or emails in the trash!

This is sad but like most people I have to make my own mind up and nothing that arrives asking for cash is getting any consideration just now.

My compassion can trigger two responses, only one of which is financial . The other one is obviously prayer....and this very personal response is not helped by too many begging letters. Charities please take note!


1 comment:

  1. As I'm sure you'll remember Jean I've posted endlessly on this subject and the only conclusion I can come to is that the part of the organisation which bombards people with begging letters and phone calls is quite separate from the rest of the charity.
    I give by direct debit every month to seven charities and to 30 others on a strict rotary basis.
    Any appeal from a different charity is immediately shredded since I can not afford any more than the 20% of my income which is set aside for charities.
    Like you, I've noticed that whenever I give (usually by phone) to an appeal from the DEC within a couple of days I receive appeals for the same disaster from at least 3 or 4 other chariites.
    I simply use the pre-stamped envelope they enclose to return their form with "already given in response to BBC appeal" scrawled across it. If they don't enclose a stamped envelope I shred it.
    Even then, ridiculous though I know it to be, I still feel guilty.
    I feel so sorry for the poor lady in the news. Guilt is a horrible feeling whether justified or not.
    As to whether the constant stream of appeals is self-defeating I really am not sure. I feel they know their targetted victims very well.