A couple of days ago I got an email from a real estate who Kim and I had looked at a house with. She wasn’t asking if we had found a house (we have) or if we were selling a house (we’re not) but rather she emailed because she was helping organise collectors for the Breast Cancer Foundation and wondered if I could help be a collector.
I’m cognisant that I’m pretty left wing, and that I earn pretty good money but that I don’t always give back to society in a particularly meaningful way – not beyond paying taxes and donating money to the odd charity here and there, so I emailed Kim and suggested we could go collect for a couple of hours. I don’t have any affinity towards the Breast Cancer Foundation over any other worthwhile cause, but people suffer no matter what their illness. Besides, it would be collecting outside our local supermarket so we could do our shopping at the same time. Bonus.
I’d always assumed that collecting money for charities was akin to wearing an invisibility coat. That people actively avoid eye contact with you so they don’t feel guilty about not donating. I thought that I might have my worst cynical suspicions about people confirmed. It turns out I was wrong.
Wrong like Bomber was about his election predictions. Wrong wrong wrong.
As a human being, I was under the impression that I was hardwired to remember the negative in a situation. To focus on the less than good. It turns out that when you’re collecting for a charity, what strikes you is actually people’s generosity. That and people who feel they need to justify why they’re not giving you money.
Donations ranged from a few cents (“every bit helps!”) to a guy who gave $20 (“wow! That’s very generous of you, thanks!). It seemed that the majority of people who donated were 40+ years old which I found interesting. Though not exclusively; there was a couple of college kids who donated too.
Also, predominantly women donated too. But there were a number of variables that could have skewed that data point. Do women do more of the supermarket shopping? Would women be more inclined to donate because it’s for breast cancer which affects (predominantly) women? Or are women just more generous?
We had one woman who commented how nice it was that Kim had brought me with her to collect when it was the other way round. That too interested me.
But overall what I got was a warm sense of how generous people are. That this was a charity for people who needed it, who were suffering an evil illness that did not discriminate. And people wanted to help make it better. For that my faith in humanity was increased.
If you’d like to donate to the Breast Cancer Foundation then you can by going here: http://www.nzbcf.org.nz/GETINVOLVED/Donate/DonateOnline.aspx
Oh and the man who told me that he and his late wife donate $200 every collection to the Breast Cancer Foundation, my heart breaks for you.