This weekend was our parish festival -- the primary parish fund raising event out of the year. I must confess, I've never been crazy about parish festivals and raffles as fund raisers. I realized this last year when I found myself griping about the fact that every member of the parish is sent ten dollars of raffle tickets for the festival raffle which they're under orders to sell. I don't like pestering my non-Catholic friends to buy tickets (and everyone in the parish has their own to sell) so we always ended up just buying them ourselves. Why, I asked, should we be guilt-tripped into buying ten dollars worth of raffle tickets we didn't want?
As soon as stated, the complaint seemed rather silly, since I don't think anything about writing several times that amount to the weekly collection.
For whatever reason, being strongly encouraged to "buy" something I don't really want (be it raffle tickets, or a chance to play festival games in the hot sun while trying not to lose any of the children) in support of a cause, is something I find myself naturally wanting to resist even when I would have had no problem with simply donating the same amount. Perhaps it's that being asked to buy something triggers a different set of thought processes in my mind (do I want this thing, it is a good use of money compared to the other uses I could put this money to?) than being asked for a donation does (do I think this is a cause worth supporting?)
Once I realized this, I figured the solution was to simply think of the parish festival as a second collection and spend $20-30 at it regardless of whether it was the sort of way I would normally choose to spend money.
This does still leave me wondering why parish festivals exist as means of fund raising (as opposed to, as a chance for everyone to get together and have fun for the afternoon) but that's probably another thing to chalk up to, "Not everyone thinks like you."
Alessandro Manzoni, The Betrothed
55 minutes ago