Charity & Pushiness: Am I being Unreasonable?

A friend of mine is going to be participating in the NYC area AIDS Walk in mid-May. She has HIV herself, but I don’t think that’s incredibly relevant - more like a point of interest. This, if you don’t know, is a walk for charity - walkers try to collect as many sponsors as they can.

I’ve barely seen her this semester - our schedules don’t mesh. About a month ago, maybe a month & a half, she popped up on my AIM. We exchanged hellos & such, no mention of the AIDS Walk. She then said,

“Hey, I have a new website, 'http://heyI”. Go check it out!"

And I did. It was her sponsor sheet for the AIDS walk - listed dontation amounts you could check off, places for name/address/credit card info, etc. I was a bit surprised, I gotta say. I don’t have a credit card anyway, actually.

“Soooooo?”, says she.

“Sooooo…I don’t have a credit card, actually”. says I.

"Oh, that’s fine. You can just give me a check or something if i see you at school, you don’t need to do it by credit card’.

I just said “Oh, I see”, & that was that. Haven’t seen her since, but spoke to her earlier this week - she called me to see if we could hang out today (Sunday) & obliquely mentioned the donation issue. I didn’t take the bait. She never called to shore up plans as she said she would.

My question is this; am I at all justified in feeling a bit uncomfortable with/annoyed by her approach? I have no problem with donating to AIDSWalk. I do have a problem with the approach she took - I feel as though she shoved me into a corner, as opposed to simply asking if I could donate. I also feel a bit used, considering the fact she didn’t call me after I didn’t tell her anything about a donation. Am I being overly sensitive?

Hell, no. You’re worrying that you’re being insensitive, but she’s the one trying to use your friendship to guilt trip you into making a donation. The idea of charity is that you do it out of the goodness of your heart, not because someone harasses you into it. I think this is just plain tacky of your friend, to be honest. I wouldn’t feel guilty about it.

You’re not being at all insensitive. I’d elaborate, but RaCha’ar pretty much covered it - it was your friend who was being rude and insensitive and not you.

Although I broadly agree with RaCha’ar and Azure Eternity, you could try looking at it from her point of view too. It’s clearly an important charity to her, so to raise the maximum amount she’s likely to be tempted to trawl as far and wide as she can.

Evidently she doesn’t think of you as a friend so much as a potential source of a donation to a good cause. And it is a good cause right? So in case you still have a grumbling conscience about it maybe you know someone else making the same walk and you could sponsor them instead?

I agree that her approach was unfair. And if it really bothered you that much, you could always sponsor someone else. That way, you get to help the cause, and thereby avoid the guilt associated with deciding not to donate because of your friend’s guilt trip, while at the same time letting her know that you did not appreciate how she went about asking for your help.

May I say from her point, you said “I don’t have a credit card”, not “I don’t want to donate” or “I’ve already donated” or whatever. To me, that would mean, “Oh, I would like to donate, but I don’t have a credit card”. She now assumes you want to donate and the only issue is that you don’t have a credit card, which is why she’s encouraging you to give her a check.

I think that right up front you should have declined donating by saying you don’t want to donate, not by saying that you don’t have a credit card.

I agree that she was pushy by saying I have a new website, then saying “soooooo” to you and awaiting your response, but if you didn’t want to donate you should have made that clear from the get go. I doubt she was trying to be pushy, but some people have no tact when it comes to fundraising, especially if they don’t do it often.



As I said in the OP; the issue’s not that I don’t wish to donate. That’s why I didn’t outright decline. I’ve written a check - I’ll give it to her if I see her. Otherwise, it’s getting mailed to the main address. It’s all going into the same fund.

The charity is gonna get my check either way, but if I had my druthers, I wish she’d have been more tactful about asking me.

She was being pushy. Nothing wrong with her inviting you to look at the website, but it wasn’t cool for her to bug you about it. I have a couple of friends who do the AIDS ride. Each of them sends me a letter with the info, and I donate if I can. I appreciate the opportunity to sponsor them. I’d be annoyed if they did the “soooooo” thing to me.

I think she should ha ve just flat out asked you, once: “Do you want to make a donation to the AIDSwalk?”

I can’t stand passive agressiveness. Makes me itch.

Once I was designated the duty of asking everyone on my work team, about fifteen people, if they wanted to donate to a charity fund. This is not something that I would ever have done on my own, but it was my duty so I did it. I went up to each person, face to face, and asked “Do you want to donate to this fund? If you don’t, just say ‘no,’ and I won’t ask you again.” This worked very well; lots of people said “no,” and some said yes and donated. Some people who said “yes” had to be reminded once or twice, and every time I saw them I told them they didn’t have to donate, but if they didn’t want to donate, just to tell me. It worked well for everyone except for this one bizarre female person who kept putting me off, equivocating, even though I clearly told her just to tell me “no.” Since she kept saying “yes,” I followed up on it several times until she finally threw a hissy fit and screeched “Look, do I have to donate?!” As if I’d been pressuring her all along. How insecure do you have to be to refuse to say “no” when someone is encouraging you to say no? What a freak. I’m glad I don’t work with her anymore, and I feel sorry for whoever does.

It’s not rude to say “no.” Ask Miss Manners.