Some Notes for the Donors

There’s another, bigger post I want to make, but I’m still waiting to find out how much my kettle actually pulled in on Saturday before I write that one. Since I want to also make a video post accompanying the text post, we’ll just have to wait until later this evening for me to shove my observation down your throats. In the meantime, here’s a small critique on the public in general in regards to the bell ringing position.

Let me up front about this. I appreciate any and all donations. People are usually very giving and very generous and they’re more comfortable dropping money in a kettle when they know they’re giving directly to the organization, as opposed to making a donation to an unknown third party organization using a retail cashier as their middleman.

That being said, you don’t to apologize for anything. I am not a panhandler and I’m not robbing you, so there’s no need to feel guilty to the point of telling me that you are sorry that you don’t have any money to give, or that you’ve already donated to another bell ringer, or telling me the entire history of your donations in the past because I am not keeping score.

Some people only have pennies to give. That’s fine, because it always adds up. And you have to remember that we’re a charitable organization dedicated to reducing and eliminating poverty. So if that handful of change is the difference between you eating this week and winding up among the people who are dependent on our services, then you don’t need to explain why you’re not willing to give that up. There’s being generous with your time and money and then there’s being so giving and so sacrificing to the point of missing the point.

When you’re donating money, the amount is not what is important. The intent is. You’re already showing me how decent you are by giving what you are able to give, without thought of reward. And I am not judging you because you were unable to give that particular day. If you feel that a bell ringer is being particularly judgmental for some reason, tell the organization so, because I guarantee you we don’t want those kinds of people representing us out there.

When you see a bell ringer out there, by all means tell them how much you appreciate their work. Compliment them, buy them a hot cocoa or coffee if you can, or tell them how their organization helped you one time. But don’t be a jerk.

Not five minutes into one shift, I had a guy ask me, “Aren’t you getting tired of hearing that bell ringing?”

What am I supposed to say to that? Oh yes, I’m totally tired of it, let me join you in your negativity because surely it’s not going to hurt your cause.

Also, please don’t make comments like, “I hope you’re being paid for this.”

What business is it of yours either way? I sure don’t hear that sarcasm when you go to the soup kitchen for a meal, or to the thrift shops, or the shelters that give you a warm place to sleep at night, so why would you give the bell ringers a hard time for raising the money that supports those organizations? This is the most effective way to raise that money and you’re showing absolute disrespect to them by implying that they’re time and effort simply is not appreciated.

For the record, yes, I’m being paid for this. If you’re interested in doing this, ask me and I’ll give you the information to do your own research, because they’re certainly always looking for people, especially around the extremely busy holidays. But be prepared for the same amount of red tape as you would find at any other job, seasonal or otherwise. And don’t expect me to share your jaded world view that the paycheck is what matters, because I had my choice of jobs where the paycheck was all I could expect for my trouble.

As I said in a previous post, this job is a huge improvement over my retail experiences, so the laundry list is a lot shorter, but there are always going to be things to improve upon. This is one are where I feel society at least puts in a 99% acceptable effort.


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