It’s my Opinion

SUPPORTING local and national charities has become a way of life over the years for many of us who care about others, though I suspect it is also another way of salving our consciences.

It is actually easier than having to do good deeds ourselves, or so it would seem.

On that basis, I am likely to continue giving my hard earned cash for as long as I can, but then again, maybe not after a number of recent bad experiences which might lead to a re - think.

I know that times are hard for those who promote charity, and this is leading to more aggressive selling of the individual good causes, too numerous to list.

Phone calls at all hours of the day and night have become something of a norm in the Nixon household, all designed to get us to top up a direct debit to a charity.

Occasionally I succumb and add a little extra to the monthly contribution after listening to the smooth patter of the caller, who is in most cases employed by a professional fund raising company.

Now that I know that the aforesaid company take up to 18 months to forward the donation to the charity I might just not be so keen to sign up in the future.

I might even cut back and resort to trimming my outgoings, returning to the tried and trusted method of giving to the tin rattlers in the street, but even this approach is not to be totally trusted, for despite the presentation of an official badge you are never sure whether or not the person in question is genuine.

I am also unhappy with the in-your-face challenge of the collectors who can be found lurking in the doorways of supermarkets.

I’m happy to give, but it’ll be on my terms, and not because you insist, mate.

In contrast, the methodology of the Big Issue sellers is much more appealing. It’s a positive experience, the magazine is a good read, and I can take comfort from the fact that I’m helping the seller with his or her housing problem.

Astonishingly, the number of homeless people in Aberdeenshire appears to be very high, but I digress, though I would observe that it seems very strange that in a reasonably rich area of Scotland we should have such deprivation.

In the meantime I shall continue to donate to selected charities, but will be culling where possible, especially when I get to know some of the administrative costs of some of the organisations and worse still the whopping salaries paid to some of their chief executives.

My advice to anyone thinking of making a long term donation is to get hold of the accounts of the charity and have a good browse before parting with your money.

Being ripped off by a charitable body seems unthinkable, but it’s happening every day.