Several times a year, retailers set up donation drives at checkouts to raise funds to a specific charity. They ask their customers if they would be willing to donate a few dollars to a special cause. It is a common practice that helps many charities receive funding for their important programs.
Recently I read a blog called Five reasons it’s okay to just say ‘no’ to checkout charities. In his blog, Joe Loveland describes the discomfort he has when cashiers ask him for a donation. This discomfort comes when this question is in front of customers that may negatively judge his decision to say no. Joe does not seem against the idea of donating, but he feels that the checkout may not be the appropriate place for this solicitation.
In his blog, Joe provides reasons why more people should say no to these “checkout charities.” Instead of giving money to every cashier that asks for a donation, Joe prompts his readers to put more research and consideration before making a donation decision. This might not be bad advice. It is intelligent for people to be careful with their money and to find ways to get the most from it.
Although Joe makes some very good points in his blog, I would have to disagree with his idea to say no to checkout charities to “discourage a proliferation of checkout shakedowns.” After making my own assessment of these checkout charities, it seems that they do far more good than they do harm. In my blog, I would like to propose five reasons it’s okay to just say ‘yes’ to checkout charities.
Reason #1: Checkout charities make donating convenient, simple, and easy.
Have you ever received a phone call to donate to specific charity? Perhaps, you said, “YES, I can do that.” After receiving the donation letter, you have good intentions of sending it in. Yet, it will probably take a few months before you send the donation — if you actually get around to it. The problem with this form of donation is leaves the opportunity for procrastination. Plus, many people are too busy. With checkout charities, it is much easier because your money is right there. You do not have to look for your checkbook. You do not have to send it out in the mail. It feels more secure too.
Reason #2: Checkout charities can help charities reach more people to donate.
It can be a challenge for charities to find enough people that will donate to their programs. Many people do not have Internet access. Many people do not read junk mail. Many people watch Netflix instead of television. Many people, however, do go shopping. Since many types of people visit retail stores, checkout charities have the potential to reach different types of people that they could not reach otherwise.
The only problem with checkout charities is they reach people that are likely to be annoyed by the donation request. Some people are committed to certain organizations already. These people may already be over-extending their selves with these organizations. Also, there are individuals that have already donated to a certain checkout charity, but they are asked again. Still, many people welcome the donation request from checkout charities. These people may be familiar with the organization and have a personal recollection of how the charity played a positive role in their life or the life of a loved one. Checkout charities provide a chance to reach these individuals.
Reason #3: Checkout charities can help charities save money, so more proceeds can directly benefit the people that need help.
Many people worry that too much of their donations are being wasted on overhead and administration budgets. Checkout charities are a great way to keep these costs down. Reaching potential donators can be very expensive. There are expensive mailing lists to obtain. There are personnel to hire. There is paper to purchase. There are printing and mailing fees. If there are radio or television ads to produce, the costs can be much higher. Checkout charities help charities allocate more resources directly to the programs and people the charity was designed to benefit.
Reason #4: Customers can use checkout charities to reward employees for good service.
Many employees seek employment to make money. However, these same employees seek more from their job than a paycheck. Customers should realize this fact too. Checkout charities are a great way to enhance the work of the employees. I believe that employees will feel more engaged to do work that is for a meaningful cause.
Employers usually hold contests for stores and individuals to raise the most donations. Sometimes people can receive awards or prizes for the hard work raising donations. More importantly, employees can gain recognition and a sense of accomplishment with checkout charity programs.
Reason #5: Checkout charities are more likely to help people than not.
I remember a situation a while ago where a deaf person was selling sign language booklets to raise money to attend college. I admired his entrepreneurial spirit and it seemed to be a cause so I gave the individual $2. I thought that people thought it was weird that I would give this individual money. Perhaps, they thought he was a con man that was going to use the money for something else. In this situation, however, I believe that more good than harm could potentially come from this transaction.
Although it is probably better to research the organization you are donating to more thoroughly, I believe most people would like to make a difference without having to put too much thought to it. I believe that most retailers already put careful consideration to their choice of a charity partner. These retailers are looking for a charity partner that will enhance their reputation, not damage it. This should give people more assurance when using a checkout charity to donate.
Picture from Morguefile http://mrg.bz/ilvM7s (SDRandCo)