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."
9 minutes ago