Monday, February 15, 2010


Philanthropy [noun] (fihl aan throh pee)
  1. Charity
  2. A desire or effort to promote goodness

The philanthropic season always cradles the holidays.  From the onset of November to the closing of January, giving is in the air.

And the phone lines.

Three, four, five calls a day from non-profit organizations asking for donations during the holidays is not an uncommon occurrence.  Three, four, five statements of "No, we're not giving this year" are also not uncommon.   We decline to give and, in that moment, feel equally abashed and elated.

Abashed and elated?  How can that be?  In truth, no one likes to be solicited - to be asked for funding and give away one's hard earned pay.  However, when one is confronted with a depository of admirable intent, that dislike turns inward - "I'm sorry I cannot give to such a worthy cause."  We feel abashed, as a result.

At the same time, it's true that we do not like to ask for money.  "Ah, but you're not asking for money; you're being ask," you say.  True - but think ahead.  If one donated to a charity, but does so beyond one's means, the next step for the individual is to be the recipient of charitable funds.  By passing on giving money to a non-profit, one is saving the charity from having to support one later on - hence the sense of elation.

As the phones cease to ring nightly with requests to support one cause or another, so ceases the conflicting feelings of embarrassment and happiness as we are no longer forced to say, "I'm sorry, but we can't donate."  We can rest and save - until November, that is.  Then: let the calls of philanthropy being.

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