Giving

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When one writes a book, he/she will get asked to donate signed copies to different sorts of charitable auctions. I’m not being cocky about this—I’ve been asked dozens of times, but I know it has nothing to do with the quality of the work and everything to do with an organization trying to raise money. I’m also self-aware enough to know that none of my books—signed or otherwise—can actually generate much coin. Has a Jeff Pearlman book ever sold for more than, oh, $30? Unlikely.

Today I received a solicitation from an organization—a worthy group trying to help kids in needs. They had me at hello (You complete me. You … complete me), but then, at the end of the e-mail, I was struck by this:

Benefits that you will gain from participating in our event will include:
Recognition of your donation on the applicable bid sheet and signage display
Opportunity to display your brochures, business cards along with the in-kind donation
Recognition in the event program
Recognition in press releases and press coverage at the actual event
Recognition in newsletters before and after the event
Certificate sent after the event thanking you for supporting our organization.

What does it say about our country that people need such incentives to make a charitable donation? Maybe nothing, I suppose. But I find it sad whenever I hear TAX DEDUCTION screamed at its loudest level in order to convince people to give. My wife and I have debated this many times—she thinks if one gives, he he gives and that’s what matters. I, on the other hand, think intent means something. If you give because you feel for the kids (or whatever), it’s significantly more noble than giving to have your name appear in a pamphlet. Much more noble.

A few years ago I was in an airport, and there was a kiosk showing photos and information about abducted children. Atop the machine it read SPONSORED BY PIZZA HUT. My stomach turned. If Pizza Hut’s lone goal is to help save kids, they wouldn’t put their name anywhere. But, one way or another, the objective is to peddle pizzas.

Word.

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