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el blog no. 4: Charitable Solicitors

On my way into Safeway this afternoon I was met by volunteer soliciting for donations. In the past I would have hardly taken notice to such a character but because of my increased awareness of the non-profit sector the Salvation Army sign jumped out at me. I began to think of all of the solicitors that I have seen standing outside of supermarkets and how I have been affected by their presence. For me I am not bothered by solicitors and for the most part I don’t even notice them, but for some people like my friend Lindsay they become frustrated by their heckling. As we walked past she was annoyed by the volunteers ringing bell and begging. This experiential learning process has encouraged me to ponder the

When I got home I googled Salvation Army solicitors, and sure enough there were a few controversial stories involving soliciting. In particular Target stores reacted to customer complaints of annoyance by banning all Salvation Army solicitors from their entrances. An article put out by the American Family Association, a Christian watchdog group in Mississippi, condemned Targets ban of solicitors and criticized their ethics. This article got very interesting when the AFA argued that Target supported homosexuals, and further more it refused to support religious organizations. As a result of the solicitor ban the AFA is discouraging people from shopping at Target and encouraging Wal-Mart because of their support of the Salvation Army.

I think soliciting is a special opportunity for non profit organizations in which they benefit from private organizations. Utilizing their exposure to passersby is a chance to get customer for donations. Especially during the holiday season people become more generous and giving. This makes grocery store entrances a great place to position themselves to promote awareness. I think it is completely up to the business as to whether or not they will allow solicitors; in fact it is a favor to non profit organizations to allow them access to store entrances and exits. I disagree with the AFA and their anti-Target stance; it is wrong and they should realize that it is not a right but a privilege to solicit. Although I support the Salvation Army, I don not look down on Target in the least bit for their right to choose. Finally the experiential learning has lead me to realize how strongly civil society can in fact influence the business sector.

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One Response to “el blog no. 4: Charitable Solicitors”

  1. I have always appreciated the efforts of those who go out to collect donations. I have always been aware of how they are mistreated and I even remember when I would go to give money, how when peering inside the cans they would be full of change mixed with chewed gum and trash too. I was surprised that target banned them from standing outside their doors , does this mean they’ll ban girl scouts too when they start trying to sell cookies?


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