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Monday, January 7, 2013

The Peer Pressure to Give.

It is that time of year again. The Walks for Mito and a zillion other diseases fundraisers will gear up to begin again.

A great way to make money for various organizations, but the marketing,peer pressure can get overwhelming and unnecessary.

From the moment I open the first email or snail mail reminding me it is time to give or convince others to give I begin to cringe.

My first fundraising experiences were selling girl scout cookies- and after my one and only attempt I quickly realized I am not cut out for it. The shame I felt when I only managed to sell a few boxes. The shame and guilt and failure I felt when the Scout Leaders handed out prizes and applause for those girls who recruited their families to help them sell. To this day if I see some shy tortured little one standing out trying to hide behind a table or a parent trying to sel those(very unhealthy on all levels) cookies I HAVE to buy from them- see Peer Pressure at work, all these years and that fundraiser guilt is still taking money from my wallet.

Then the school fundraisers- just as bad. Worse for my girls. They would actually have the representatives for the fundraising companies that the PTO's and PTA's would contract with come to the school and waste academic time on assemblies convincing the kids that the coolest kids sell the most. Pressuring the kids with cool toys and pizza parties to go hit up their neighbors and family for cash. I remember the girls coming home and with woeful eyes begging me to help them sell more then anyone else so they would not feel like failures. Not okay with us. It was a hard lesson for my girls. That it is okay not to be good at something. I taught them that being good students, and respectful and working harder then the other children was gift enough the years they attended public school and home. I explained "taxes" to the girls, it still sucked for them to go to school with no overpriced wrapping paper or cookies sold, but they learned.

I cringe when I hear "fundraiser". A lot of peer pressure, competition, and often social climbing built into the activity.

Before you get all upset, I am thrilled for those who love that stuff- who have the energy to get the donations, the energy to walk, the energy to organize and the personalities. Having the personality to be a salesperson is a positive. We need all types in this world.

We don't participate. No energy and no personality for selling. But, if you are like me there are still plenty of ways to give and avoid all of that high energy activity. No guilt from me or mine anymore, we have worked through that at this point in our lives and recognize not all of us are cut out for that type of social event.

You can simply donate money. Yep, that easy- skip the middle man activity altogether,avoid the crowds,the germs, the time,the energy,the costs of entertaining all of the contributors- your money will go further without all those extra costs attached. It takes money for organizers to set up neat tents,flyers,food,drinks, entertainment.

You can keep a blog. You can teach a friend about Mito. You can read research and share what you learn with other Mito families. Write to your representatives, Senators about how Mito families often have to travel for medical care, or the lack of awareness for funding..etc

You don't have to give money in order to support any organization, and you don't have to convince others. Just surviving and learning to live beyond your disease is a huge gift to all of us.

So to all you black sheep like me out there, no need to hide while the merry fundraising occurs, just give in a different way. Maybe a low energy way, maybe cash, maybe quietly or privately. It is okay! I promise! Some of us just don't enjoy it or have the energy, or aptitude to sell it.

There are plenty of folks out there who enjoy those spotlight moments, who appreciate the social agenda and get together or just those fierce competitors-

We gladly step away from it all and let them enjoy their moment! :-)


Reagan Leigh said...

I am fully supportive of donating to an organization like the UMDF...the thing I find a little shady is clinics soliciting donations from the families of patients!! I mean, don't we have enough expenses as it is with our medically fragile children (don't they already get enough money from us and our insurance)??? And please tell me how is my child going to get equal treatment to a child who's family has raised and donated 30k to the clinic??? She's not! Just my opinion!

Diane said...

Agreed 100 percent. Funding a National organization for a cure where you know the money will benefit ALL is a terrific way to donate money.

Donating to private clinics that provide medical care is questionable- I have heard from a number of folks your same thoughts. No way my shabby insurance payment of 300 bucks or so can compete with 30k either.


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