United Way – How much is excessive?

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like to write on controversial topics.  Yet this time, I’m going to do just that. The United Way.. or another word for high pressure drives and contributions to a great cause?

Over the past few weeks, at the large company I work at, there has been a massive push for donations to the United way during their annual fund raising drive. I’ve contributed both financially and being a volunteer at company sponsored events to raise funds. Yet what I see at my campus,  is individuals who seem to have taken the United Way donations theory and convert  it to mob or cult levels for chartibable cause contributions.

Everywhere I look, I see the box of $1 candy (of which I admit, I’ve contributed multiple dollars here), to events (movies, raffles, ice cream stands, ping-pong tournaments). I applaud all these events as a charity like the United way is doing a great job for the community. Yet, when is this going to end?  The past day or so, I received multiple emails with tallies on the number of employees that have not “officially” contributed to the united way.

Doesn’t charity count when you contribute via the candies all over the building and participating in events?

What I have a problem is with:

  • The managers, directors and executive directors sending emails flagging the fact that unless you are counted with payroll deductions, you have really not contributed to the United Way.
  • The employees (especially the college hires) that go around the campus and knock on peoples doors and do what I call “pressure and guilt sales”.
  • The number of man hours that seem to be wasted with employees spending hours and hours doing “charity work”. Ok.. I admit, I’ve spent about 3 hours at an event as a master of ceremonies and just helping out with the event.

A friend of mine who happens to have his office near the employees that I outlined in bullet 2 above, told me of where these college hires (the future of my company), who gather every morning and have cheerleading and strategy sessions to make sure every box of candy in his building is stocked to the hilt with snickers, Hershey bars, and other high caloric items.

These same employees go around to other employees door-to-door and basically pressure individuals to contributeIt’s not just one person that goes around, they go in gangs from office to office asking for cash contributions. I know that if someone came to my door, my guilt would take over and I’d open my wallet just from the pressure!

I can almost guarantee that the during the upcoming week, I will be getting multiple targeted emails from the leadership “encouraging” us to open our hearts and wallets. Yet if we contributed via alternative methods (candy sales, ice cream, etc.. ), doesn’t that count to the bottom line?

There, I feel much better now.. Now I can go enjoy my Snickers and Hershey’s without the Guilt!  I realize that I’ll be subjected to flames with this posting, but hey I haven’t ruffled some feathers in a long time!