by Jennifer Valentine-Miller
For many people, including me, this year will be another year to perhaps change energy supplier or telecom provider. However I do tend to find myself stressing and avoiding the phone when it rings, because a subconscious thought tells me this is a call from a major charity that I might or might not already contribute to. Plus there are also the confrontational situations when dealing with family members and their nonchalant approach when borrowing money. And also, it has been another year of avoiding beggars on the street.
I enjoy giving to charities. However there is that feeling of being bombarded. The communication regulators Ofcom say that you can make a complaint in writing to TPS (Telephone Preference Service) if there is a feeling that your telephone number is continually being targeted by marketing and telesales companies. I am not talking about this in order to generate a hate campaign against any person or organisation who ask for money, I believe that when asked to give money (for whatever reason), there should be guidance that allows someone like you or I to say “no” with confidence.
There are also online forums asking the same question and seeking answers around the subject of borrowing money to friends. One comment says: “I am not comfortable with it because of what it might do to our friendship. It’s obvious that (our friendship) does seem to be your first concern.” Another example says; “the surest way to damage a friendship is to actually give the money” and “debts between friends are more damaging than anything else.” America’s Fox Business News suggests to it viewers they should try to find a way to help a relative who continually asks for money. If the support is in the form of money then it should not be handed to them until a repayment agreement is in place. And also consider giving cheque payments or money-orders, because they are safer and more advisable.
I find the idea of money being used to purchase shopping going towards a charity of the company’s choice as a good idea. Amazon, for example, practice this quite often.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t like asking for money and there is a need to raise money for a cause, Easyfundraising.org.uk will give you a cash reward that can be turned into a charity donation. How this works is that Easyfundraising.org.uk will collect free donations for your personal charitable cause when you shop online – the major store generates a commission from your purchase.
The website Politics.co.uk say that people who beg are “among the most vulnerable in society, often trapped in poverty and deprivation, and it is regarded as a risky and demeaning activity”. Begging for money is a serious matter and it is evident around major cities. Although begging is illegal it does not carry a jail sentence under the Vagrancy Act 1824. The charity Crisis estimates that over 80 percent of beggars are homeless. I have experienced people begging or asking for money whilst travelling on the train. I found that was particularly intimidating. The British Transport Police (BTP) have stepped up patrols on the train lines (to deter anti-social behaviour) from Liverpool Street to Shenfield. A spokesman said: “people involved in begging are usually destitute and in need of help.” The Police go on to say that “they will try to direct those begging for money towards the appropriate services rather than criminalise them.”
Public Relations is not just about writing articles, posting on social media, or monitoring optimizations. It is about raising the public’s concerns around their rights towards services received and services they give out.