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It’s funny how fundraisers (and others) so often think that the (unknown) people to whom they write must be much the same as themselves.

I have had a letter which starts: “Do you ever dream of retiring, maybe moving to a warmer climate…..” It then asks whether I also ever think of the “other side” of aging. “What will happen when you are no longer able to drive, when jobs around the house become more difficult…..”

My response is that I am not thinking about all that. I am experiencing it. I am in my eighties, have glaucoma (no driving), a heart condition, and so on. Life is getting more difficult. I know just what it is like.

I wonder if people with serious medical prognoses get harrowing stories from medical charities – when their own situation may be worse.

Anyway, the writer from Hot Line Meals Service (London) (which, it says, provides hot meals six days a week, 50 weeks a year to 150 deserving cases) seems to think later that, perhaps, I am not the same as him or her, by writing: “Through your generous contribution of £3000 today….”No polite request; no suggestion that a lesser amount would be acceptable; just a bald statement. And, later: “If it were not for your generous donation of £3000 today….”

A postscipt says: “our loyal band of volunteers provide and deliver nutritious hot meals….” which gives the impression that it is run by volunteers. Not so. The costings schedule shows the cost of employing (part-time) five people, including two on administration and one on cleaning. I am not arguing against paying wages, but that the letter seems to imply that it is an all-volunteer show.

Some charities are turned down simply because there are insuffiicient funds to meet all requests (even at considerably less than £3000 a time). This one, however, is being turned down simply because I dislike the tone of the letter.

Hot Line Meals is in poor odour not only with me, but also the Charity Commission. Its Reports and Annual Returns to the Commission have been submittes late in four of the last five years.

PS Why give to a charity whose affairs are such that it does not make its returns to the Charity Commission on time?


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