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Your Take: Charity Solicitations at Stores

Posted By Jim On 12/11/2009 @ 9:23 am In Your Take | 51 Comments

With it being the holidays, a lot of stores have partnered up with local charities to solicit donations from customers. If you donate a dollar, you get your name on a balloon or a star that gets plastered behind the registers of a store. It’s always voluntary and optional and only in a few cases have I ever heard of someone “donating” without their consent (the recent Radio Shack – Livestrong debacle [3]).

I have no qualms with these types of arrangements, as long as the retailer isn’t too pushy about it, but I almost never donate money. I don’t donate for a couple reasons:

  • It wasn’t part of the plan. I don’t have some grandiose philanthropic plan but there are several charities we support and while a dollar or two here or there doesn’t derail anything, part of me feels a bit ambushed when I’m solicited at a grocery store.
  • Donating direct is more efficient. The store gets something for their involvement (at least the charity has to pay for the promotional materials), I’d rather donate via a website or sending a check so that the charity gets 100% of the money.

There are, however, exceptions to my general feeling towards these solicitations. For whatever reason, if it has to do with kids and if the promotional push is one of their “big” ones for the year, we’ll usually buy a balloon or star or whatever. The prime example is Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s partnership with Rita’s Water ice [4].

What’s your take on this? Hate them? Indifferent?

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[3] Radio Shack – Livestrong debacle: http://consumerist.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-search.cgi?blog_id=1&tag=livestrong&limit=20

[4] Alex’s Lemonade Stand’s partnership with Rita’s Water ice: http://www.alexslemonade.org/sponsor/ritas-water-ice

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