Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shake It, Baby 

Tomorrow I'm heading into town to help with the Blind Citizens WA street appeal. If you've ever wandered about the central city on a Friday, you've probably noticed people from different groups shaking tins and asking for donations. I'm not sure what I'll be doing but there's a good chance I'll be shaking a tin. I hope we don't have to give out stickers - I won't see where to stick them and I won't see that people are wearing them - I'll be hassling people twice!

I'm not sure how I feel about this, I'm the worst fundraiser ever. I heard a fundraiser speak last weekend and she'd somehow raised millions of dollars for her organisation (not BCWA!). Not surprisingly, she spoke well about the need for the project and its likely benefits. I can't even sell a few raffle tickets or chocolate. I guess this is because any group I'm raising funds for is usually blindness-related, and it feels a little close.

I'm also the kind of person who feels a little guilty if I'm in a hurry and don't have time to find some coins, work out how many I need to keep for me, and then do that awkward 'here's some money' thing. I'm like this with buskers too. On the other hand, if the stars are aligned okay and I do donate, or give money to a busker in return for the entertainment, I feel really good.

I think I'll adopt a friendly 'donate if you want, have a great day anyway' attitude. I'm wondering what to wear too. I'm thinking of wearing Good Clothes but I don't want to look like I'm hoping you'll join my church (if I had a church, which I don't exactly). I want to wear my Good Boots but they have a heel and that probably won't be practical. What does one wear to ask for donations?

I'm also imagining the flusters I'll have interacting with a lot of people I can't fully see. I could give them a clue by bringing (that is, taking out) my cane, which I hardly ever use, but that might seem misleading.

Do people talk to collectors? Do they ask questions? Too late to get comments from you guys... I guess I'll let you know how it goes. :-)

If by some fluke you happen to see me, come up and say Hi! I'll do the mashed potato if you ask nicely. :-)

Comments:
Hmm.. I think your "donate if you want but have a great day anyway" attitude is spot on.

I'd say take the white cane. People will presume that you can't see them walking past not donating..and you'll both feel more comfortable. Also it lets them see that a "real" person with vision impairment can look like you do.

You're not the worst fundraiser ever..I have a couple of causes that touch me personally, plus a few more I think are worthwhile. Am I out there giving it a go? - no.

However you do it, at least you're out there. I'd actually be disturbed by someone who said "yippee - fundraising, I love it and can't wait". I think it's one of life's squrim-making things - and the fact that people overcome it shows how seriously they do (and we should) take what they are collecting for.
 
I agree with Kathryn, "donate if you want, have a great day anyway" is a good attitude to have. I have come across fundraisers before who weren't exactly aggressive when I didn't give, but kept badgering me - not pleasant :(

I haven't really chatted to people shaking tins as I'm usually on my way somewhere - I might thank them and wish them a good day, but that's the extent of it.

I'll be in the city this afternoon so I'll look out for you.
Hope it goes well and may your tin be heavy!
 
I think it takes a lot of courage to go out and ask for donations!
Thumbs up :-)
But... what is doing a mashed potato?
 
How'd it go?
 
Hi Kathryn, CW and Iris!

Thanks for your comments, I read them when I came home and it did make me feel like I'd made the right decision.

I hate it when collectors are aggressive. There are so many different causes that are worthy of my time and money. It's not up to the collector to force a decision about which groups I should support.

I shook the tin, which I hope wasn't too annoying for people nearby, but I didn't call out (not even once!). I didn't need to worry about how to engage with people who didn't donate - I didn't always notice them and they may have assumed I couldn't see anything. I did wear Good Clothes!

Iris, have you seen The Blues Brothers? In the scene where people dance to 'Shake Your Tail Feather' they do the 'mashed potato' - along with moves like 'the monkey', 'the fly' and 'the watusi.'
 
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