A Dilemma

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 | 8 comment(s)

Okay, so I have a dilemma (and yes, I'm hoping you can help me with it).

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."

How nice.

But, Holy Shit!

Look at the stuff
A Biased Sample
This 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.
they offer in the "Gold
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.
Level" of their gift catalog:
  • 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
    I Really Don't Know
    They 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.
    20" Stereo Color TV
  • 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
    I Sure Hope
    I 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.
    costs of JDRF?"
  • "Do these gifts really act as significant incentives
    I 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.
    for people to get out and raise money for the organization?"
  • "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
    Don't Hesitate
    If 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:
  1. I have diabetes
  2. I am extremely lucky to have a kind, thoughtful, and generous group of friends and family
  3. I had the audacity to actually ask them for their financial help to raise money to cure diabetes
  4. They delivered in spades
  5. 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?

8 Comment(s):

Blogger Lyrehca said...

You raised the money fair and square, which is more than others would do. Personally, I'd rather write a check on my own than ask people to sponsor me for a walkathon, so you've done more fundraising than I could do.

And to be honest, you're the one living with diabetes in the first place. If you can't win a functioning pancreas, the least you can do is enjoy the iPod they're offering you.

You earned the prize (which is likely donated to the JDRF anyway). Pick out what you like and enjoy it.

Blogger Bernard said...


I've run into the same problem twice. Three years ago when I raised over $3k for ADA and this year where I'm up to around $3k for an upcoming ride -- I'm aiming to try and raise $6K, I believe that God loves an optimistic sinner like myself.

People are generous, but it still takes effort in asking folks, collecting the funds, and taking part in the event itself.

Initially my feeling was that I should donate what I got the last time, but in the end it wasn't very significant (cyling shirt, backpack and something else). This time I'm more inclined to look on it as a small reward for the effort I've undertaken.

So I agree with Lyrehca, enjoy whatever reward you get from JDRF which nothing compared to what you'll get from hanging out with others who also have diabetes (a part of any of these events that I particularily love).

Good luck in your walk.


Blogger Minnesota Nice said...

I agree with these guys. The JDRF seems to be a reputable organization.
Get the cookware and have us all over for dinner. I'll hitchhike.

Blogger art-sweet said...

I like MN's dinner party idea!

Blogger Major Bedhead said...

I was all "donate it back" until I saw the Emeril cookware. Dood. Do the dinner party. :D

Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

heheheheh - lyrehca said "you can't win a functioning pancreas"... Am I the only one who found that funny??

First off - Kevin - that is AWESOME that you raised so much! It says a lot about your person and character that those around you would be willing to donate towards the cause. Way to go - and I mean really - that is just super.

On the prize thing. Hmmm. I can feel your pain. I have mixed feelings about it too. Do I have to cast a vote? Or can I slide by just commenting on how funny lyrehca's comment was?

Blogger Kevin said...

A dinner party, huh? And you have no idea what kind of cook I am! Ahh, a brave bunch.

Interestingly, the Emerilware seems populare -- diabetics obsessed with food, perhaps?

And no worries, Scott. No need to cast a vote: I read ya loud and clear. And I agree, Lyrehca's line caught me as very funny. I enjoyed that chuckle, L, thanks!

I am honestly still on the fence about what I'm going to do. I have a few weeks to make a decision, I think.

Blogger Shannon said...

I once raised enough for JDRF to give me a prize...a jacket.

The woman asked if I would like the prize, or would I rather decline and have the money go back to JDRF.

I declined the prize and was puzzled over why JDRF would spend money to buy the prizes rather than ask companies for donated prizes in lieu of free advertising or some other deal.

I personally would turn down those prizes although they make it tempting not to.

If you do decide to go for a prize, it would be a toss up between the flat screen and the iPod.

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