‘Tis the season for giving. And wouldn’t I like to give to every semi-frozen Charity Rep standing outside every toy/electronics/apparel/outdoor/home goods/dollar store in the metro area. Thing is… I never carry cash. You can jingalingaling that little bell all you want, but the chances of me finding even a dollar, hell, a quarter (I park in metered cities often) is slimmer than Heidi Klum’s abdomen. I WANT to donate, I WOULD donate… if you only accepted debit. Needless to say on a shopping spree of 3+ stores and no cash for handouts, the thick coagulation of guilt is… err… not so Christmas-spirited.
But yesterday I ran into the smartest group of caroling charity supporters and police officers I’ve ever encountered. With sloppy joes on the menu for last night’s dinner I had to stop and get some very necessary Manwich at Kroger at the corner of Livernois and Long Lake Roads in Troy (Michigan).
On my way in, I cringed as I saw a group of about 10 carolers standing at the entry way of Kroger, and two Troy police officers (or sheriffs maybe? … I don’t know. They were in uniform.) talking on a megaphone about donating to Troy’s families in need. But when I finally made my way to the door, I asked what they needed… and the police officer explained that if I had anything extra to give this Christmas, if I could pick up a non-perishable food item while I was shopping. Not cash. Just food… which I was already going in for. How smart! This team of incredibly good people had captured their target market! Here I could select some yummy items to donate WHILE I was already shopping! Excellent! THAT I can do! So rather than sift through some random cans left over in my cupboard (um, who really wants condensed milk and fried onions anyway?) I picked up macaroni, spaghetti and sauce, chicken noodle soup, and canned fruit and veggies to give. By the time I came out of the store, the group had half a shopping cart filled with bags of groceries.
And it made me think, why aren’t other charities doing this? Like Salvation Army or Goodwill… they could position themselves outside of Target or Toys R Us, and instead of asking for donations, ask me to pick up a toy, a blanket, or a shirt while I’m in there! Toys for Tots, don’t have me bring toys to work or my local coffee shop… Goodwill, don’t have me bring my clothes to a drop off center. I’m likely to forget. But target your shoppers where it’s easy for them to give… easy for them to buy, THE RIGHT TIME AND PLACE and I’m totally in! I bet you’d double your donations.
Anywho, props to the Troy police officers and carolers helping Troy families get the food and comfort they need this winter. I hope other shoppers found your efforts as awesome as I did. And the caroling was a great touch too. You don’t hear that much often anymore and I was impressed. Take notes other charities… City of Troy, show ‘em how its done.
Merry Christmas. And may every belly be full.