Giving one's money--time or other wordly possesions--away is what most people refer to as "charity". I've always considered myself a rather charitable person. I volunteer and donate when I can. But I have a few rules when it comes to charitable solicitations. And if you break them, you don't get my time/money/stuff.
Here they are:
1. If you try to GUILT me in to giving by sending me address labels/Christmas cards/calendars/wrapping paper that I didn't request and will, most likely, never use: SCREW YOU. You're wasting your organization's limited funds and destroying trees with your plea. You are stupid, and I will not donate. (I'm looking at you Texas Exes, World Wildlife Federation, Animal Trustees of Austin, and Boys Town Christmas Appeal.)
2. If John Aielli is involved in your plea, I will not donate.
3. If you're panhandling, and you're smoking a cigarette, I will not donate.
4. If you solicit me by mail more than once a year, I will not donate.
5. If you're not creative enough to use your allowed once-a-year donation soliciation (see above) during some time OTHER than the holiday season, I will not donate.
6. If I've donated with you before, and now you want me to donate at a higher level, I (probably) will not donate (at that higher level).
7. If I donate to you, and then you sign me up for a gagillion OTHER "like-minded" charities who then start bombarding me with mail/phonecalls/emails, I will not only not donate to YOU anymore, but your like-minded organizations will also get blackballed.
8. Pledge premiums work if they're creative. But if they're too typical (a tote bag! a coffee mug!), no thanks.
9. Enlist businesses to match pledges. I used to work for a company that matched charitable contributions at 50%. It not only made me pledge my support more frequently, it made me PROUD to say that I worked for such an organization.
If you are a not-for-profit organization whose mission I believe in, I will support you if I can. I am smart and have access to the channels that will connect me with you. I promise. But other than that? You need to check yourself.