Jim Brigginshaw once loved going to this hardware store, with its sausage sizzle, but now it's like
Jim Brigginshaw once loved going to this hardware store, with its sausage sizzle, but now it's like "running the gauntlet”. Luka Kauzlaric

Why I'm taking a 'hard line' with charities

MY FAVOURITE store in the whole world is not Harrods in London or Tiffany in New York.

It's not even the classy little boutique around the corner from where I used to live in Sydney that stocked all my favourite labels. You probably have one like it near you. The place where you know you will be able to find exactly the piece of clothing you need for a particular occasion.

No, my favourite store in the whole world happens to be a certain hardware chain. I love shopping there so much I even bought shares. The sausage sizzle every weekend is just the icing on the cake, so to speak.

However, lately I've had to run the gauntlet of charitable organisations collecting money at the front door. There's a different mob represented just about every day now, and that's not hard to understand when you realise there are around 54,000 registered charities in Australia.

The same problem exists in my little town; card tables are often set up outside the only supermarket, and as they are often manned by people I know, I feel obliged to hand over cash. Last year I donated four times to the Salvos, a charity I don't want to support since their refusal to back the Safe Schools program back in 2016. I won't feel the same compulsion again.

Now before you start pointing an accusing finger at my lack of charitable spirit, let me explain that I donate regularly to a cause I believe in, the Fred Hollows Foundation.

I've been diverting a portion of my salary to them for decades. It comes out of my account each month and therefore I don't miss it. I also do pro bono design work for various non-profit organisations.

But recently I've had to take a hard line with just about every other charity, especially those that cold call me at home.

These are organisations that have acquired my contact details from some central agency; I'm not listed in the directory and yet they know my name.

I really dislike that aspect of fundraising as I am only too aware that a large portion of money raised in that way doesn't make it through to those in need.

I have also started supporting the local homeless shelter that recently opened nearby. I felt compelled to do that when I discovered that, despite the state government deciding to waste millions of taxpayer dollars rebuilding football stadiums in Sydney, this homeless shelter gets by thanks to the goodness of strangers.

My friends and I donate things like toilet paper, teabags, milk, coffee and food, and we deposit money into their electricity account to keep the power on.

That we should have to do it is a disgrace.

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