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Giving Shouldn’t Be Painful

This morning I received one of those nuisance solicitations from a charity that I had never heard of and still can’t even remember. The caller was clever enough to use a phony id tag of someone we had previously called earlier in the morning. What a devious ploy!

The first thing she said was nearly the most insulting! “Is this Angela?” To which, I replied “Does this sound like, Angela?” I am a 51-year-old male, who sounds nothing remotely close to that of my lovely wife. Either she wasn’t listening, or didn’t care. Not a good start to getting my confidence!

The lady (loosely used) on the call was what I believe to be a sophisticated robocall. The charity organization claimed to be a breast cancer charity (breast cancer was instrumental in my mother’s death) which is a cause near and dear to me.

The female voice on the other end adamantly requested for me to agree to pledge some random amount. Going from high to lower but never addressing my reservations, I was growing more and more angry with the handling of this call.

I asked the voice, “Just how much the charity took and how much went to breast cancer research?”: Her response was disappointing:

“That’s a good question! Fifteen percent goes to research and eighty-five percent goes to administrative costs. Can I put you down for twenty-five dollars?” I couldn’t believe that she thought that I could have been so gullible to say anything near of affirmative! Thus, ended the call!

This is the time of year that charities bombard us with end of year requests. Be empowered, be informed, and don’t be shy to ask what that charity is doing with your hard-earned money. Unless you have a long-established relationship and are familiar with the charity or charities of choice, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. You have every right to ask where your money goes and how it is to be used. You also have a right to answers that satisfy your curiosity.

Here are some suggested questions for the charity fundraiser:

  • Are you a registered 501c3 not-for profit?

  • Are you on www.charitynavigator.org?

  • How much of my donation goes toward the cause and not administrative costs?

  • Do you work for the charity or are you a paid solicitor? If so, you might tell them, “I will save the charity money and make my donation directly—but thanks for reminding me”.

  • Do not feel pressured that this call is your one and only opportunity to contribute to the cause. If a charity is pressing you for a donation, take another look at the charity and do some background work.

It is easy to be lured into a convincing charity charade that sounds honest and true to purpose. If you want to know what kind of research was funded by the charity, then ask them. They should be proud of their work, not secretive! If you need time for research and to get answers, there is no reason why you can’t ask them to call you back later.

You are in the driver’s seat to your charitable giving. Don’t feel pushed and pressured by paid solicitors! You should feel confident and enthusiastic about the charities to which you give. The best way to be confident about your charitable giving is to know who, what, where, and how your donation will be used. Don’t be afraid to make a difference, just do your homework to make sure you are educated and satisfied with where your donation is going.

An Inspirational Magic Man

I believe that people come in and out of our lives for a reason. Often, they may have an important message to relay or an example to emulate. Whatever the case, if we pay close enough attention to those people that we encounter on a daily basis, we might just recognize what it is that we need to learn from the encounter.

As an avid amateur magician, I enjoy finding and visiting small local magic stores in cities that I may be visiting. I have been to close to a dozen small magic shops over the years, and I continually meet the most fascinating, entertaining, insightful individuals who also share my appreciation for the great art of performing magic. I met the owner of the last magic shop in North Carolina. This store is in Asheville, NC and is called Magic Central.

One of these amazing individuals that I was lucky enough to meet was a gentleman by the name of Ricky D Boone. Mr. Boone has been a professional magician for almost 40 years. Even more remarkable is the fact that Mr. Boone was born with a rare bone disease. His mother was told that he wouldn’t live to be 4. Ricky is 67 years old.

My selfie with magician Ricky D Boone at Magic Central, Ashville NC

My selfie with magician Ricky D Boone at Magic Central, Asheville NC

He is reliant on a wheelchair but to be in his company and to watch him work, all disability goes out the door. To see him perform magic looks so fluid and effortless. His humor and patter put him in control of the room, and the feeling is comforting. This is the sign of a true showman.

Ricky did card tricks for my wife and me. His sleight of hand ability was most impressive. I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. His patter was smooth and entertaining.

Ricky has received numerous awards and accolades for his performances and wonderful praise for his inspiring lectures. He is the recipient of two Emmy awards for a documentary on his life.

Ricky Boone is so much more than a magician. He is a model for us all in overcoming obstacles in our lives. He is a living miracle. Mr. Boone is a true inspiration to me, only after having the gift of getting to know him for about an hour. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet a man with such spirit, grace, humor, compassion, and presence. Boone‘s charity, The Vanishing Wheelchair is an extension of his drive to help others break down barriers for the physically challenged, through the art of magic.

I am reading the book about Mr. Boone, The Four Foot Giant And The Vanishing Wheelchair by T.J. Shimeld. I am truly enjoying the book and plan to report more on this amazing man!

Ricky Boone is more than an entertainer – he’s an inspiration for us all!!

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