Donor fatigue: Try to avoid it
We've been hearing about "donor fatigue" this year. It is understandable that people feel they are "donated out" after all the appeals for help.
It has indeed been quite a year. The tsunami stretched our pocketbooks. Then came the earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricanes.
Generous response. Americans have responded with amazing generosity. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) - the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency - raised over $159 million for tsunami relief. Catholic Charities USA reported receiving over $50 million so far to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.
People have indeed been generous. But can we expect people to keep digging deeper into their pockets to help others?
Slowdown in contributions. Perhaps not. A recent Catholic News Service article reported that nonprofit charities have begun to notice a slowdown in contributions. "We do expect a short-term dip," said Mark Melia, director of annual giving and support at Catholic Relief Services.
With major disasters piled on top of each other, "you're seeing the same images . . . and that's what I think is overwhelming," he said. "But I don't think it's even just overwhelming from an 'I already gave' perspective. It's also overwhelming, emotionally, to process
all of that."
Donor confusion. Besides donor fatigue, there have also been reports of "donor confusion." Some people donate to a special cause and feel they have done their part for the year. They don't realize that the agency needs normal donations to do its regular work - in addition to special disaster relief.
So if we've given to Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent de Paul, and other community agencies, we should not forget to make our ordinary contributions.
Perhaps many people remember nonprofit agencies during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. This year, please do NOT cut back on your annual giving. In fact, consider increasing your contributions.
Share our blessings. This is the time of year to give thanks to God for our blessings. If we have a job, a home, and enough money to meet our own needs, we should share our good fortune with others. We might consider adding some new charities to our list of holiday gifts this year.
Help the poor. The Catholic Church also provides an opportunity to help the poor. This coming weekend, November 19 and 20, is the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and Catholic Communications Campaign (CCC).
For 25 years, the CCHD has empowered the poor to help themselves. It has funded national and local programs to assist farmers, minorities, the disabled, and other marginalized
people of our society. The CCC is helping the Catholic Church proclaim Gospel values in the media, including use of the Internet. Consider a gift to this "Share Your Faith" campaign.
There are so many Catholic and community organizations relying on us, especially this year with all the natural disasters. Don't let them down.
Try to avoid donor fatigue by continuing to be generous with your end-of-the-year contributions. Thank God for your blessings in prayer and put your faith into action by giving generously.
Mary C. Uhler
We reserve the right to edit or reject letters. Limit letters to 200 words or less. All letters must be signed. Please include your city or town of residence.
Send letters to:
The Catholic Herald
P.O. Box 44985
Madison, WI 53744-4985
Governor's compassion in vetoing ban is misplaced
To the editor:
On November 3, Governor Doyle vetoed a ban on human cloning. In doing so, he has: 1) opened the door to unscrupulous science labs to begin cloning human beings; and, 2) has allowed those labs to create life for the express purpose of killing it.
One thing that each of us reading this article have in common, is that we started our lives as an embryo. In a Catholic Herald article, Fr. Tad Pacholczyk pointed out that our society understands this connection with other species, evidenced by the fact that it is a federal crime to destroy the egg of an eagle. When it comes to applying this same connection to human life, Governor Doyle has a huge disconnect.
Governor Doyle will defend his position from his view of "compassion," saying that it opens the doors to finding cures for numerous diseases. Unfortunately his compassion is misplaced compassion. It is misplaced, first due to the fact that it is bad philosophy. Catholic teaching (and yes, Governor Doyle is Catholic) tells us we are never allowed to do evil even if the intent is to do good. In other words, we can never destroy life, even if the goal may be to help others.
Second, it is bad economic policy. At this time there are over 65 cures found from the use of "adult stem cell research" (which is perfectly acceptable), while there are no cures from "embryonic stem cell research" (which destroys life). Why does the Governor insist on throwing good money after bad, especially in light of the moral implications of his actions? Wish I had the answer.
Greg Wagner, Middleton
Suggestions on identifying persons with disabilities
To the editor:
The article announcing the Apostolate to the Handicapped's 39th Christmas Dinner was read with interest. The Apostolate and Msgr. Campion are deeply admired for their years of devoted work for, and on behalf of, persons with disabilities!
One request for future such announcements pertains to the Catholic Herald's choice of words. The opening paragraph "for the handicapped" might be more friendly if it read "persons with handicaps." (I have a disability, but I am also well educated, self employed, have a growing family, and enjoy many volunteer efforts of my own. I prefer to be regarded as a person . . . not a "handicapped.")
"Members of the disabled community will present the Offertory gifts" is problematic since there is only ONE Catholic community. It would have been enough to simply note "members/guests will present the Offertory gifts." Thirdly, "Hundreds of volunteers . . . disabled guests." Perhaps "guests" would convey this information (unless other guests are present who lack a disability). It would seem the article has already identified the guests.
One wonders where these guests are the rest of the year? Are their parishes open and inviting? Only in recent years have persons with disabilities had access to technological and medical innovations, education, housing, employment, transportation, and the freedom to participate in their communities and churches. Patrick Gorman has crafted some very inclusive and welcoming signage for use by parishes in the Diocese of Madison Office of Worship Web site.
Hopefully, parishes will study and apply this knowledge. And emulate Msgr. Campion in identifying and actively reaching out to their parishioners with disabilities.
Peggy Rakow, Catholics With Disabilities, Madison