Last year in the UK we saw how a number of large charities, including Oxfam, Save the Children and Cancer Research amongst others, think it is appropriate to ‘cold-call’ people to raise money for their charities.
They employ external companies to do the dirty work – and dirty work it is indeed. The undercover videos 1 2 accompanying the recent media article (“VICTORY! After Mail exposé reveals shame of charity cold call sharks, PM pledges tough new laws to tackle ‘boiler room’ tactics targeting the elderly and vulnerable”) published by the Daily Mail UK 3, show the tactics that are used to get people to part with their cash. No one is spared from being given this ‘opportunity’ to donate including elderly pensioners and those with dementia.
How distorted is the thinking that converts the imposing technique of cold-calling elderly people with dementia, pressuring them to donate money to the charity, and calls it “…giving them the opportunity to donate”? How far removed have people become from what are ethically and morally acceptable practices?
To me, cold-calling people and effectively coercing them to donate is the absolute antithesis of charity. Whilst they may argue that no force is used, I would have to disagree. It takes a force devoid of true love and care to cold-call and persuade and talk people – including vulnerable people – around to get them to donate to a charity, particularly when we consider what charity truly means.
The word charity comes from the Latin caritas, translated variably as meaning eternal love, unconditional love, God’s love, love of all mankind, generous love, Christian love. The latter refers to the love that is the Christ that lives within every human being – not just those who profess to be Christian or who align to the Christian religion: the Christ being the energy of the soul (of love) in embodiment, something that every human being has the potential to live.
What is consistent is that it is a love that is freely given, with no attachments, expectations, investments, needs or demands.
And so it follows that true charity consists of acts done, money given, time and space offered, with no investment of self of any kind – where there is absolutely nothing in it for us: we do what we do and give what we give with, from and for love.
It sounds simple – but perhaps is not so easy to live given our human predilection for ‘What’s in it for me, me, me, me?’ to take hold. There are the obvious and not so obvious investments, attachments and other emotional hooks than can catch us out, for example:
And so the list goes on…
If any of the above resonate, then we know we have not given in true charity but have had some investment or need for self.
And so perhaps there are not too many people or charities out there who are truly giving of their time and money with ZERO investment of self. Certainly the charities that were exposed for cold-calling and haranguing people for money using ‘boiler-room tactics’ are far, far removed from true charity.
Of course it’s always easy to point the finger at others when the real work lies in looking at ourselves and removing our own attachments and investments, which requires a radical self-honesty to clock when we are doing something for self, when the ‘what’s in it for me?’ rises up – and when it is purely and simply for the love of all.
I can recognise both within myself: times when I have done something but there was an undercurrent of resentment about it, and times when I have freely given with zero need for anything in return. The two feel quite different in my body. The first is heavy and sticky, the second is open, expansive and free-flowing.
There is absolutely nothing charitable about cold-calling and persuading people to part with their money. If it is not freely given with love, without force, coercion, persuasion, guilt, sympathy, resentment, need, attachment, expectation or investment, then it is not true charity and it is certainly far removed from caritas.
All three references can be found at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3156846/VICTORY-Mail-expose-reveals-shame-charity-cold-call-sharks-PM-pledges-tough-new-laws-tackle-boiler-room-tactics-targeting-elderly-vulnerable.html