How a street fundraiser turned me off of Macmillan

It seems to me that Macmillan is everywhere at the moment. They’re the charity with the big budget for spending. Last year I made a £5 donation to Macmillan and they sent me a nice little book about how to do more fundraising. I liked it and I was pleased to have given to such a worthwhile cause – supporting people with cancer. When I made the donation I was thinking of a family member who survived cancer and the wonderful support she got. 

I’ve also been impressed with Macmillan’s follow up mailings. They’re sensitive, well worth reading and use good imagery. They’re comparable to Jewish Care, who also have sent me some lovely materials after I donated to them. 

But recently I’ve been turned off from supporting Macmillan.

One of their fundraisers came to our door. I wasn’t in at the time. My partner (struggling with our young baby in our arms) told the fundraiser that she wouldn’t make a donation as she had already decided who to give to this year. We have an agreed strategy with fundraisers door-stopping us – a polite no thanks answer, so that they can get on with their job by speaking to someone else. And we can get on with whatever we’re up to. 

However, the Macmillan fundraiser wasn’t having it and told my partner that one of our neighbours had made a donation despite supporting 14 other charities, so perhaps my partner should donate too. 

Unsurprisingly, this didn’t make my partner want to donate to Macmillan. Trying to shame someone into donating because their neighbour is more philanthropic didn’t strike her or me as a good tactic. We would rather give to charities because of the change they’re making in the world, or because people’s lives will be affected. 

Next time Macmillan write to me asking me to donate, I’ll remember to let them know that I’ve got other priorities, no matter what my neighbours are doing. I know that they’re doing good work, which deserves our support, but this fundraiser is what I remember when I think of Macmillan now. 

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