It sure is tough to turn down someone that asks you, as you are checking out of a store, “Would you like to donate $1 to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital?” I’ve given to them independently before, so I know it’s a good organization. Even Charity Navigator thinks so.
But I was amazed at how many retailers were asking me this over the holidays. According to their website, St. Jude’s partnered with Target, Kmart, CVS, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and many others. Not sure if they all asked this at the register, but a great many did. And when I am going to some of these stores multiple times a week (especially Target), those donations can really add up. I’d love to know how much money they have raised recently and whether it surpassed the money they receive from private donations.
With that said, I am really conflicted whether this is a fair strategy. While you are waiting in line with people behind you, as I said, it’s hard to say “no”. But not everyone can afford to do this. I think we will see a surge in organizations doing this over the coming year (unless I am already behind the times), but then there might be some backlash. But not before you go to the store and checkout scanner asks you if you would like to donate $1 (or whatever amount you choose) to a choice of 5 different charities. Pick one. Or two.