NB This post is two days late, due to weekend gallivant to Hereford and Worcester, and technical difficulties. My apologies.
Last week was Christian Aid Week, as I’m sure you know. I went out to collect from my usual street, which I’ve been visiting for somewhere between five and ten years, nearer ten I think, so they ought to be expecting me. It’s about 50 houses, some of which I’ve watched go up during this time.
I do not expect much from Christian Aid Week, and this street. People are out; people are probably in but won’t answer their doors; people don’t want to give. I have always found this.
But this week, out of those 50+ doors, I was given money by eight people. I have no statistics to hand, but this seems considerably lower than before. (Of the eight, I think six were women, usually older than me, prepared in advance. One of the men consulted his wife first.)
The result may have been skewed by my going out on a different night from usual (Wednesday rather than Monday, which they say is the best) and only doing one visit rather than two like a keenie.
I have no actual problem with people going out. Or people who don’t want to give to Christian Aid. Or people who don’t like strangers coming to their doors. I myself don’t like this.
(When it comes to unsolicited phone calls, I have a serious problem with “letting your anger lead you into sin”. Serious. Every time I think “I’m going to be polite,” and then I’m not. And yes, I thought I was on the Telephone Preference list.)
My excuse for Christian Aid visiting is that this is not a random visit; Christian Aid Week has been around for many years. Most British people know about it.
I just think that people are less willing to give on the door, in an envelope, than they used to be.
If it comes to that, people are less willing to answer the door, or see any need to. A surprising number of houses appeared to have no working doorbell or knocker at all. When you think about it, apart from the post, unexpected visits by anyone must be increasingly rare. If someone comes to my house, it’s usually been arranged, either as an established meeting, or five minutes ago by phone or text. And if the doorbell doesn’t work, the mobile will. I AM ON YOUR DOORSTEP; LET ME IN. 🙂
No one was rude to me. One man said he had reservations about Christian Aid’s policy in a certain area, which is fair enough. Someone else said they give elsewhere, which is more than fair enough. There was one man who smiled cheerfully, obviously realising who I was, let me go through my short spiel, and then seemed to take some pleasure in telling me the envelope had gone in the junk. That did seem unkind.
He was an exception, but most people, or most men, were polite but firm in their refusal.
Do people not want to give, not thinking that those in the developing world should be helped?
Has the population simply decided en masse to discourage all unsolicited faces or voices at door or on phone as pestilential intruders?
Have people decided that anything with “Christian” in its name is bad?
Or is it just the case that there are more straightforward and technical ways of giving to charity these days, by text or online, and the door/envelope technique is outmoded?
It’s a lot of work to organise, and must cost Christian Aid a lot to run. I hope they’re looking into alternatives, as these attitudes don’t look likely to change any time soon.
Love from the PPI Blogger