Why Is Charity Often Connected to Greed?

I just had somebody come to my door. We were finishing up dinner, and I was throwing some trash away. I fixed the storm door and screen, so we had the front door open to let air in through the screen. I saw somebody standing there.

He called to me, so I walked up. I talked through the screen. I don't like solicitors. I don't buy anything from my door. I don't donate money from my door. When I give, I like to make sure that what I give actually gets to the cause it was given to.

The pitched started with something about a chance to win $5000. Then it turned to something about winning a trip to Europe. Been there, done that. I was born in Spain. That comes up every time I have a discussion about my security clearance. "You were born in Spain? Are you sure you're a citizen?" "Yeah, that's why I've had a security clearance for the last 18 years. Nothing gets by you, does it?"

I exchanged a little friendly banter over how cool Europe is, and how great it would be to take my wife. Then I cut it off by explaining my situation, and how I'm not putting money out for anything but essentials right now. Then it all came down to "You don't have one dollar to give to Children's Hospital?"

As I have no way of knowing whether my $1 would actually benefit any children at Children's Hospital, I said sorry, but no. Not right now.

I'm curious why charity works that way. If you need money for a cause, why not just ask? Why does it always have to be connected to $5000 raffles and trips to Europe? Is the best way to get people to part with money to appeal to their sense of greed?

I also think of other questions. Is Children's Hospital a for profit or non-profit? If it's a for profit, why are people on my doorstep asking for donations to "benefit" Children's Hospital? Is the donation for an ancillary program? This is why I won't donate money from my doorstep. I can't get my questions answered.

It's never worked on me. I don't care much about winning anything. OK, I've won a few books the last couple of months from blog giveaways. That's been helpful. I entered to win an iPad in a couple of places. I didn't win. But for the most part, I don't care if I win. I'd rather earn the money and pay for it myself. I've already explained how I refuse to buy lottery tickets.

I can only imagine what would happen if churches started doing this. Give out raffle tickets and draw one out of the collection plate after the offering has been taken. Winner gets $1000. Would that raise the amount of the offering? It would probably keep people around after service to see if their ticket was drawn. I'd probably leave a church that did that. I hope most of you would too. But I'm interested if that would have an affect on the offering.

So I guess it comes down to the question: are you more likely to give money to a charity if you have a chance to win something? I'm not saying it's wrong. Maybe it does result in higher donations. I've never checked into it. All I'm saying is it doesn't work on me. 

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