Giving is Hard to Do
One of the disappointments I have had in moving back to Jamaica is discovering how difficult it is to give... as in donate.
While we have tremendous problems in the country with thieves, we seem to spend so much of our time beating a system that when something is offered at no cost, we have no idea what to do with it.
On the one side, there is the suspicion that people experience when something that is too good to be true is offered to them, and the reaction is one of suspicion. The recipient is often overly wary of the possible ramifications of accepting the gift.
Will the giver try to take advantage? Will they think the recipients are needy or less than them?
On the other side, however, there is sheer incompetence, and that is the usual culprit.
In the times that I have tried to donate time and even money, I have found that the receiving organization was just not set up to receive the gift.
In one case, I had the hardest time trying to donate some camera equipment recently. I contacted three organizations, and received wrong information from one, no call from another and a third that eventually stopped returning my calls altogether. I eventually dropped the equipment off myself at the first organization, afte several miscues.
In another case, I asked a charitable organization to withdraw US$100 from my account each month. One month they decided to bill me for 5 months -- 4 prior months that they missed and the current month. That created a problem, so I amended the instruction to ask them to withdraw a maximum of US$100 each month, and if they skipped a month -- tough luck.
That worked for a few months, until the withdrawals mysteriously stopped altogether. Phone calls and emails have gone unreturned.
I gave up.
Others (especially expats) report the same kind of experience. Many wives of expats are unable to hold jobs because they lack a work permit.
They try to volunteer in their area of specialty with no luck -- one therapist I know was stood up three times by people at the church she attended when she tried to donate some of her expertise.
We in Jamaica make it so hard for ourselves. While there is a lot of in your face begging, even from the able bodied, our organizations are so poorly run that they cannot accomplish even the simple task of receiving gifts of time and money.