BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation. I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any terms which might be ambiguous, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me.

Friday, 2 August 2019


Had a funny visit from a door-knocker last night, collecting on behalf of the British Heart Foundation.

Started off nice enough, idle chit-chat. Then he asked me if I had any personal experience of heart issues? I must admit, I often fall into this trap. It's obvious to me that I walk strangely, that my arm doesn't work etc. but I suppose it's not obvious to someone else, especially when I just met them. Anyway, I explained to him that heart attack and stroke are very closely-related. I even told him that I did voluntary work myself for a couple of charities - we might be fooled into think that fundraisers are doing so out of kindness, but they're actually pain employees of the charity - it's nothing more than a job to them. I made it clear that my effort was given, not sold.

He then directly asked me to contribute a regular payment. I explained that, because of the stroke, I was disabled, and told him the benefit I had to live on. It puts me in the realm of around £80 per week, so even the £1 per week he was asking for was significant.

Even then, he wouldn't leave me alone. Still wanted money. In the end I sent him away with a rather blunt "no". I went from a state of pleasantness, to a state of frustration, wanting him to go away, because the guy didn't show any signs of understanding what I was telling him.

This guy was obviously being paid to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, but he didn't care about who he raised the money from. In fact, when I thought about it later, it'd probably be more appropriate for them to help me, than to ask me for money. So I wrote to BHF to complain at the pushiness of this guy. Not least, benefit levels are public information. When somebody explains that they live on such-and-such a benefit, they should know the implications of that, in pounds and pence. The BHF in particular, as so many people who've experienced heart attack will be living on the same benefit as me. I do think that, long-term, these charities shoot themselves in the foot because the next time somebody from there knocks on the door, I'll just say a blanket "I'm not prepared to contribute to your charity", just because a previous fundraiser was so pushy. It's a shame, really, because they are probably a good cause - but most charities are good causes, and we have to use more effective criteria to decide whether we donate or not.

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