Wednesday, August 02, 2006 | 8 comment(s)
First some back-story:
I've mentioned this before, but back in May I hastily decided that I was going to participate in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on the National Mall. Two weeks before the walk, I sent out an email to friends and family, and another to coworkers asking for their support. I was absolutely stunned, astonished, and genuinely awed that in a little over two weeks, I'd received more then $3,300 in pledges to JDRF on my behalf. I received such and overwhelming amount of support (both financial and plain ol' "go get 'em!" emotional support too) from my friends, family, and colleagues that I was on the verge of tears for a solid two weeks.
Every time someone wrote me an email, or stopped by my office to drop off a donation, I was just filled with gratitude and hope. And as I wrote to many of them in my response to their kindness: "From the bottom of my malfunctioning pancreas, I cannot thank you enough." I really don't have words to sufficiently express my gratitude.
This is all good, right? (Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy abounds).
So here's where the dilemma comes in and messes with my head:
Just last week I received a catalog from JDRF notifying me that because I raised between $2,500 and $4,999 I am eligible to select an item from the "Gold Level" in their catalog as a "small token of [their] appreciation" and as a "reward for my achievement."
But, Holy Shit!
Look at the stuff
A Biased SampleThis only a sample of the items available. Not included are items that I'm not really interested in such as jewelry, a metal detector (though that might be cool), or a sculpture of an eagle.
Copper, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and...Yup, there's actually a "Platinum Level" for those raising over $5,000, but I honestly haven't even looked to see what kinds of ridiculous items are offered there.
- An Apple iPod® Nano
- Emerilware® 10-pc. Stainless Cook Set
- A Samsung® DVD Recorder
- A Samsung® 20" FlatScreen TV
- A Stamina Magnetic Recumbant Exercise Bike
And that's not all...
There's More!There's actually some stuff in the print catalog that was sent to me in the mail that is not in the on-line catalog. I presume all items are available for selection.
- A Brother® 5-in-1 fax, printer, copier, scanner (that's only a 4-in-1 by my count, but I'm not going to quibble)
- A set of Bose® 201 Series V Speakers
- A Daewoo 20" Stereo Color TV
I Really Don't KnowThey have a Daewoo TV listed in the print catalog and a Samsung TV listed in the on-line catalog. Not sure why. I also don't know why "Daewoo" isn't "Daewoo®" either.
- A Cambridge SoundWorks® Clock Radio
- A Samsonite® Legacy™ 4-pc Luggage Set
Now, I'm not a very materialistic person by any means, but this is some nice stuff, which gets me thinkin':
- "Doesn't offering this stuff increase the overhead costs of JDRF?"
I Sure HopeI expect that all of these items are given to JDRF at a DEEP discount and that someone has done a significant bit of cost-benefit analysis on the offering of gift incentives for raising money. I really hope it doesn't impact their costs significantly, but then again what does "significantly" mean? I'll pretend that they have the right mix of gifts selected such that the gift-to-fundraising elasticity implies that not offering them they would actually decrease the amount of money raised in a given year. If there's any research on this, I'd certainly like to see it.
- "Do these gifts really act as significant incentives for people to get out and raise money for the organization?"
PerhapsI can imagine to get people who are not *directly* affected with diabetes to raise money for the cause, this type of incentive plan might work. But for people who have diabetes themselves, or parents who have children with diabetes, I'm pretty sure this is the furthest from their minds when they decide they're going to join the cause.
- "Would I feel comfortable, being a diabetic myself and feeling pretty strongly about the need to cure diabetes and the importance of JDRF's funding research as a means to that goal, actually selecting one of these gifts for myself?"
- "How would someone who made a donation to JDRF on my behalf feel about my receiving just a "small token" for THEIR generosity?"
Don't HesitateIf you happen to be one such friend/family member/colleague who made a contribution to JDRF on my behalf, please feel free to chime in here and let me know what you thing about this. Inquiring minds want to know.
Basically, it boils down to this:
- I have diabetes
- I am extremely lucky to have a kind, thoughtful, and generous group of friends and family
- I had the audacity to actually ask them for their financial help to raise money to cure diabetes
- They delivered in spades
- I get a prize
I don't know... it just seems... wrong. But then I'm tempted by the material goods (whichh, I suppose, is the point). You can almost imagine the devil and angel on either of my shoulders, right?
The kind folks at JDRF did put a sentence in the letter that states: "As always, however, you can choose to forgo your prize and donate the value back to the JDRF and the Walk to Cure Diabetes."
Woe is me... I hate having a conscience sometimes.
What are your thoughts on this?