Door Erik Dob 29 June 2013

Not long ago we successfully delivered the Pink Wall , an initiative of Pink Ribbon. Hats off of course to Pink Ribbon, a club that performs nothing less than noble work. They have our full support, and if you ever get to advertise for them, you don't say no. It fills me with a kind of pride; that I'm working for a good cause, which means somewhere inside me there's a good person. You even get a ribbon for it. It may be pink, but hey. In principle these kinds of organizations are of course well-intended initiatives, meant to help those less fortunate. So you do your bit for nothing, absolutely free of charge.

Nevertheless, I can't help getting the impression that we're rather weary of good causes. Perhaps because we're nowadays bombarded with charity advertising. Worse still, the advertising is skipped over and a direct appeal is made to the man in the street's compassion.  Or celebrities who are ambassadors for something, whereby I strongly suspect they aren't taking part in their own initiative.

And so dear reader, I don't know about you, but I can no longer see the wood for the trees. And thus no donation to the Tree Foundation that helps me with this. The Netherlands has around 30,000 charities, and all of them are fighting for the attention of our generous donors. Although our international reputation suggests otherwise, no one is more generous than the Dutch. Whereas it was previously the preserve of the well-to-do, nowadays no less than 96 percent of the Dutch now and then give to charity. Every year, the average Dutch person gives 174 euros to good causes. We're certainly open-handed with each other! One euro in the collection tin here, a sponsorship there, a donation to an account number and a paper collection campaign at the kids' school.  And a few shrewd people are also sure to make it deductible, since then we get it back.

As it happens, men donate more than women! Hey, one for the men! Or maybe not, since is generosity related to the size of the amount, or to the quantity of charities you support? And these days, you can't get away with moral support alone. Certainly not when you're face to face with the collector, and woe betide if you refuse to donate, in a friendly yet firm way. In the more favorable scenario, you're treated to a disparaging glance or you hear a snide comment once you pass by. This means you're expected to donate as and when you're asked to. Always, everywhere and to everyone. Even if you have no interest in cheetahs, minor landscape elements in Limburg or dancing bears in Romania, you will give! We have free choice in terms of donating, but not to refuse. Not joining in is not an option, because then in the Netherlands you're in the minority, in such a way that you yourself are eligible for charity. And should it ever get to that stage with me, everyone donate!


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