Do You Have 'Charity Fatigue?'

From the ubiquitous red kettles to the option to round up to the nearest dollar at the register, there are many requests for consumers' charity this season.


It's rare to go through a checkout line without being asked for a donation. At PetSmart it's for animals; at Wendy's it's for adoption; at the Dollar Tree Store it's toys for military kids. And, let's not forget the jingle of the Salvation Army bell that sends many of us digging into our pockets.

It's true, needs are increasing yearly. One viewpoint is that if you're out shopping anyway, parting with an extra dollar here and there likely has little affect on your wallet—and if others do the same, the sum of all the small donations can make a big difference. 

But how do you decide when your donations are enough? Do you have to give each time to feel like you've helped? How do you walk through the cold past that kettle and the ringer of the bell one Facebook fan of Patch referred to as "the bell of guilt," and not feel like a cheapskate?

Donations can add up and some are tired of it.

Facebook user Adam posted this earlier in the week: "I'll go on record as saying that I hate this. After all, they are the ones making money on the transaction yet I'm the one being asked to donate. The snarky part of me wants to ask them if they'd like to donate the profit they just made from me to the charity in question."

Another Facebook user, Jess, said: "Everywhere I go they ask. It's overwhelming at times."

And it's not just on Facebook that people are complaining or questioning these in-your-face fundraising tactics. Columnist Sean Gonsalves wrote in the Cape Cod Times this week that he is starting to wonder if his "empathy muscle has atrophied."

Gonsalves said he is being bombarded in snail mail, email and most recently at his trip to the drive-thru. He refers to his feeling as "charity fatigue."

What do you think? Are you suffering from "charity fatigue?" Tell us in the comments.

Kristin W December 07, 2012 at 12:40 PM
I was strong-armed by the FOP call center during dinner last night. They weren't impressed when I told them I volunteer for the local police and fire departments, and even less when I told them I was facing medical bills. I guess my sob story isn't as touching as theirs?
Bill the 1st December 07, 2012 at 01:58 PM
There are numerous FOP scammers out there that use bullying tactics. Anytime the FOP calls me, they take a polite "Not at this time." response from me. I would be suspicious.
Jay Down South in Dixie December 07, 2012 at 03:16 PM
I've volunteered for the past 5 years as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army outside a grocery store which shall remain nameless. During those 2 hour "shifts," I have always been amazed by the broad spectrum of people who cheerfully contribute, not by their contributions, but by their genuine desire to share some amount, no matter how small, to help people they probably will never know. Personally, I don't have a problem putting a dollar or two in the pot every time I leave the grocery store, especially if I've just dropped $60.00 on food for myself.
Jay Down South in Dixie December 07, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Next time they call, tell them you have the right to remain silent and hang up.
frank maloof December 11, 2012 at 08:42 PM
never heard of charity fatigue if you give the salvation army is one of the best


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