Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I write because I care, I give because I have to...

I would like to dedicate this rant to my work husband. Although he’s sold out by actually donating to the United Way, no one has been more vigilant at harassing the crap out of our team leader. Tirelessly he emails and taunts her. Nothing she does is good enough.

Are those the best prizes you can come up with?

How many times a day are you going to email us?"

"Quit junking up my inbox with your crap

Hey, your posters violate the Philadelphia fire code, please remove them immediately

And my personal favorite, "I write because I care, I give because I have to"

Best of all, he blind copies me. The barrage of emails might be the only reason I’m almost sad to see the United Way drive end. Almost……
It's that time of the year and we've started our annual United Way "voluntary" donation campaign. The world of corporate giving is sort of like a cult. This has been true of every office in which I've ever worked. They start with the best of intentions and it quickly degrades into something like this:

Day 1: "Hey, this is a really great cause and only a small donation can make a big difference!"
Day 3: "With every donation you are entered into a raffle and if you give more than $x you're automatically entered into the super special raffle. IPod's for everyone!"
Day 5: "Thank you to those who have given, we're looking to reach our corporate goal for participation - join the team"
Day 7: Distribute FAQs debunking the United Way myths around overhead costs. (i.e. I know there was that whole scandal thing a bunch of years ago but c'mon, cut us some slack. We really want that plaque in the lobby.)
Day 9: "Did you know that you can designate your donation to a charity in your local community? Every donation makes a difference no matter how small." (Read: Are you that cheap that you can't give your local Little League a few bucks and help us out?)
Day 11: "Every year we've been proud of our contribution, we need your help to reach our goal." (Unacceptable participation! We know who you are.....)
Day 15: Rumors abound of lists naming the evil non-contributors
Day 17: In an effort to rouse the competitive spirit the reluctant team coordinator is enlisted to send personal messages - "Bob's team is trying to reach our personal goal of 85% participation - we can't do it without you!"
Day 20: "This is your last chance to donate before we take your first born in place of your contribution. Click on the link or you'll never see your family again. We mean it."

3 days later...

"A few folks have asked if there's anyway to donate since they missed the deadline so we've extended the giving deadline." (Read: They miss their children and are starting to think that the brake failure in the station wagon wasn't an accident.)

I'll admit it, I gave in to the pressure a few years ago. It was a moment of weakness brought on by the corporate equivalent of "CIA enhanced interrogation techniques". Leave me alone! I just wanted the bad man to stop. Talk about a violation of the very core of charitable giving. They say hind site is 20/20; I think we have quite a few good historical examples of why jumping on the bandwagon is not always such a hot idea. Feel free to use these as inspiration when fighting off the corporate donation pushers.

Poor judgement & mob mentality results in a giant New England BBQ
Good Cause: saving the Puritans from the Devil.

You look a little shifty, must be a commie. Round 'em up.
Good Cause?: Protecting America from communist sympathisers & espionage by Soviet Agents

Proof that drinking the Kool Aid is not always a good idea
Good Cause?: Protection from nuclear fall out due to impending attack on the United States

Too bad they didn't have - would have been better than the mass weddings to strangers
Good Cause?: The single most important idea is the parental relationship between God and man.

Note to Self: When two people called Bo & Peep tell you that Jesus is in a spaceship on the Hale-Bop Comet, don't put the bag over your head.
Good Cause?: Survive by leaving earth immediately before the planet is recycled.

A whole lot of perfectly good bed sheets ruined for a really bad cause.
Good Cause?: Self preservation in the face of social change due to rapid urbanization.

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