20 October 2008

Giving the Government Way

The other day I walked to my mailbox at work, and there it was; the 9 x 12 manilla envelope. That can only mean a few things here...either more work or more crap for the recycle bin. In this case it was an annual appeal for the SECA campaign. This is not to be confused with either A) Sega SegaGenesis1

or B) Seka


I know Sega is much more enjoyable and I suspect Seka would be but I have no first hand experience with her body of work, so I'm guessing there.

Anyway, SECA stands for State Employee Combined Appeal. What that boils down to is the state of PA comes to my mailbox and asks for donations to various charities and they will lovingly deduct straight from my check if I would so desire. Every year I toss it unceremoniously in the garbage can. This year however, I have a blog, so it has a few days of respite.

Why toss it? First and foremost, I am a past president of the local American Cancer Society and remain on the leadership council. That's where I volunteer my time and most of the money that I donate to charities. Secondly, when was the last time you can think of your state correctly managing anything remotely associated with money?

For a lark, I opened it up to see where the ACS was listed. Hmmm...it wasn't under 'America's charities' which would sort of belie the whole of the letter 'A' in ACS. Ahhh, there it is. Listed sporadically in separate counties...under the headings of 'PA United Ways.' So let me get this straight. You would like me to donate to a third-party who will give that money to a third-party who will finally give it to the place I already donate to so that the state of PA can rest well tonight.

I'm thinking that the ACS will probably be lucky to end up with a quarter of what they usually do in this deal.

If your charity isn't listed in the little book, evidently the state thinks they blow. Go find another one. Screw those homeless waifs and get a real charity dammit.

What will also be fun is the emails and messages in my mailbox urging things like '100% participation' and promoting our university 'through the spirit of giving.'

What I would like to see is having it promoted the way it should be. "Let's get 100% participation so those charities can get less of what you give." or "promoting our university through the spirit of wasting," would be awesome.

Hopefully, some year, people will come their senses, look in the little book for their favorite charity, and give to them directly.

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JaxPop said...

You nailed that one. The government already has their hands in too much stuff & they've managed to screw up just about everything that they control or have a say in. Gotta watch out for old Fast Eddie & his cronies up there. I miss the rolling hills of Pa but not the taxes. The folks that bought my house are paying almost 14K per year in property tax. Hey - could it be that I'm FIRST to comment????

Anonymous said...

I agree. I am suspicious of how much charities actually use "for charity" anyway. With all the suits that are on the payroll, it just makes me wary. And the government is the king of all waste, so they need to just stay the hell away.

JaxPop said...

BY the way - I NEVER donate to 3rd parties so that they can determine how it's distributed. Might as well flush the money at that point 'cause so much of it gets skimmed & doesn't help as intended.

Krystal said...

I couldn't have said it better myself!!

Jamie said...

So true so true -
The university I used to work at in Ohio used to shove their campus campaign down our throats and it irritated me more and more every year. I too, donate my time and money to ACS and I don't need my employer to remind me to do that.

Vodka Mom said...

You said what WE ALL THINK, when being harassed at work! I give privately to two charities. WHen asked at school the 100TH time, I keep saying, "Don't you people take No for an answer? I've been taught all my life how to say No, I teach CHILDREN how to say No, but you damn people don't know what NO means. "

Don't get me started......

steenky bee said...

Awesomesauce. For reals. You would have been better off with option A or B.

Also, your comment about that you already work out and are fit wasn't encouraging to me, it was enraging. I'm now determined more than ever to get back into shape.

Good for you, Man!

Kat said...

My dad works for the federal government and always gets the same request you do. He always throws it away and then writes a check directly to whatever charity he feels needs it the most. That and he always donates items to the National Kidney Foundation and Goodwill.

Bee said...

I feel better writing the check and sending it myself. That way I know it's going exactly where I want it to go.

Diane said...

I misread the title to this post and thought it said, "Giving the Government Away," and I thought, 'how cool'. And then I thought, 'who'd want them?'

Ron said...

donating to charities seems so detached sometimes. It's easy to write the check, what I've learned is it's harder to actually donate time. In most cases, it's time they need just as much as money. Good for you for being involved.

Red Cup Mom said...

At least you opened the envelope and blogged about it. Think of it as a public service announcement. Thank you.

Giving is interesting. You know I saw a thing in the paper to be a hospice volunteer. It really caught my eye and then they require 16 hours of training. That's hard to manage while doing the fam thing. Mmm.

Glad you are on the ACS board. That's doing the right thing.

Confessions of A Mississippi Mom said...

AMEN! I work for my great State and it has this same type of program set up. If you give one pay check a year to United Way they along with the State.. will see that your money gets to your charity of choice. HMMMM ain't this the same organization(UW) that the CEO was pulling down a three figure salary... is that really going to the organization (I picked) or the CEO. Oh and get this if I donate at least a certain amount they throw in a free dinner at their charity function.

Yeah what some crap!!!

HeatherPride said...

At my company they do the United Way thing every year, where if you don't donate directly from your paycheck you're made to feel like a second-class citizen. So I give in. I hope it's going somewhere useful.

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

I hate when anyone asks me for money. I'm all like, "how about YOU give ME some money?" And then they look at me funny and figure that I am retarded or something...oh well, then at least I don't have to give anyone any money.

All joking aside, I do give to charity, but I hate being asked. It makes me feel all awkward and flustered and I have a hard time saying no and then I empty out my bank account for the Rich White Kids that Can't Afford Escalades Fund and my husband gets really mad.

Didn't I say all joking aside?

Golly, this comment has gotten way out of hand.


Lawyer Mom said...

This has inspired me. I may do a post about the over-the-top fundraising at my kid's school. It is non-stop, every minute of every hour. And the names of the "givers" are constantly being printed up and circulated. There is a gaping hole where my name would go.

You are certainly right to donate directly . . . but do you get leaned on at work?

Heinous said...

Jaxpop: Happy firstses! Yeah, PA taxes rule.

Mrs. D: I don't even like to trust their reported figures.

Jamie: I can't even wait for the 5 year campaign where they have the stones to ask us to donate money to the university...because my employer should do that right?

Deb: No means no dammit.

Jen: Let me know when you need more motivation...and...um...you have in depth knowledge of 'B' then?

Kat: That's a smart man...but dads usually are.

Bee: Amen.

Diane: we should auction them off.

Ron: I like the people aspect too.

RCM Jen: That probably wasn't their
intent, but that's the gov't for you.

Carrie: I can't stand the UW nazis.

Heather: Don't you love that pressure?

Petra: Comments can get out of hand? I may have to rethink my strategy.

LM: I remember when my church used to list who gave what. I stopped giving until it was over. We get leaned on. It's through targeted emails mostly. The delete key rocks.

The Stiletto Mom said...

WHOA. What happened here? I thought I commented? I was just coming back by to, you know, cement my stalker status and then realized I never completed my comment which makes me a crappy stalker.
I may need to create a charity in my own name for those who become confused when posting...I think the gov would support it and I can get a million dollar grant.
On second thought, I'll just give to your charity instead.

Captain Dumbass said...

Does the US have the same thing as Canada where if you donate to a charity you can deduct a certain (small) amount from your taxes, but if you donate to a political party you can deduct the entire amount? The government couldn't run a 7-11. I'm going to allow them to decide who I donate to?

Deanna said...

Do they do that lame thermometer where they make the goal and fill it in with red marker? When it isn't filled up you will secretly know why... with satisfaction.

Heinous said...

Mary Anne: It happens to the best of us. You'll get your mojo back.

Cap'n: Yes, we get tax breaks here too. Just little ones.

Deanna: No, we save that hokey thing for the United Way campaign. I think those things are rigged anyway.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

Good point. Although I'm afraid not all charities have the marketing budgets or capabilities like the United Way. Which might be good actually, so then I could eat dinner without having to talk to them on the phone.