Sunday, October 14, 2007

Charitable extortion?...

My wife has a small furniture and home accessories store, and a re-upholstery shop. I run a small construction company. As small business owners, we receive a lot of requests for donations from groups both in and out of the community. A couple of weeks ago the furniture store alone received 17 such requests.

We don't mind people asking for help, and we try to do what we can, but there are also limits. Like most people, we have to set our priorities. Cancer and heart disease research usually wins out over skateboard parks and cheer leading camps. It's not that we're opposed to skateboard parks and cheer leading camps, but with our limited funds, they don't necessarily come under the heading of worthy charities.

Sometimes other factors effect our decisions. Like when the high school boy pulled up in his Corvette and asked for a donation for his traveling baseball team. Sometimes we give to a cause just because it is important to us, or because someone asks and we know it is important to them. Sometimes through our church, sometimes through an organization, and sometimes through an individual.

That's how it should work. It's not charity if someone threatens you and forcibly takes your money, and it's not any better if they have the government do the threatening and taking for them.

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