Monday, April 20, 2009

The Solicitor

Over the years I have fielded many phone calls from folks trying to solicit me for funds. I cannot tell you too much about what they were calling about because, frankly, I tune these folks out immediately when I understand why they are calling. I have always viewed this type of phone call as an intrusion, an unwelcome interruption. Stop calling here. Take my number off your list. Go away. I am sure that I was rude and curt and surly. Something about people asking me to give away my money, for any cause or fund, has always brought out something dark in me. I viewed these people as scum, as beggars, as the lowest of the low. The other day in church I was sitting next to someone who was a fairly new attendee. At Waters Edge Church, we happened to be in a fund raising period for our new church building, a series entitled "The Big Dream". The young man leaned over to me during the service and asked me if this church was "always trying to get your money". It then kind of dawned on me that so many worthy institutions, from food banks, to community programs, to children's services, to churches, rely almost totally on volunteers and donations from people, people just like me! Do you think that the volunteers who place those calls actually enjoy this work? I bet that there are plenty of folks like me who have hung up on them or treated them like pariahs (or worse). I should think that after just a few hours on the job they would come to realize that they have to deal with plenty of jerks like me, but they put up with it for those generous few who listen and understand and will support their cause. It has taken me a long while to get to this point, to see how I was acting, how I was treating these people. Even if you don't sign up to give to these folks, at least give them some respect and some kindness and some encouragement.