You learn things from most unexpected experiences. I learnt to say No from such a small but repeated encounters.
I usually get down at a point and walk about 2 km while coming back from work. There is a famous bookstore on the way and few eateries around it. At any given time one can see about 20, 25 people in that area.
Almost every other day one can see a young group of 4 or 5 representing various NGOs talking to people. They will be seen trying to convince them that they are not doing anything to this world and donating to the NGO they represent will help them attain salvation. Now, I am all up for charity. But I refuse to give to any random organization.
My first encounter with them was lengthy. Being a self-proclaimed polite person, I patiently heard for 15 full minutes before saying that I am not interested. I genuinely wanted to hear what they do but I support another NGO that I believe in.
The frequency of my encounters increased and it was getting a bit frustrating to talk to some NGO rep every day. Time was getting wasted for us both. Over the time, my replies became shorter and crisp. This is the evolution of my replies.
“That is so nice of you people to volunteer but I support another organization”
“Sorry, I support another organization”
“UNICEF? I talked to you guys already”
“Greenpeace.org? I talked to you already”
“Children’s relief fund? I talked to you already”
“UNICEF? I talked to you guys already. Didn’t you get enough funds yet? You have been asking people every day”
“UNICEF again? Talked to you last week”
“Lost my job”
There are some questions that keep surfacing in my mind
- Why do these organizations always need money?
- Can they eventually help all the people ever?
- How about the admin costs? Surely not all the people are volunteering?
- Can there really be an organization that is formed with volunteers only and the money collected is spent completely to the cause?
- Why do big NGOs like UNICEF ask ordinary people to contribute instead of targeting corporates or wealthy?
- Does anyone who is contributing even read the financial statement to check where the money is being spent on?
- How do we choose the organization that we can trust?