What Does “Charity” Mean To You?

When I was interviewed for the job I started a few months ago, I think one of the questions touched on why I was interested in a part time role and where I see myself in five years. In my reply, I mentioned that since I was sixteen years old, my priority has been the work I have done for registered charities, and that although my activity is unpaid I consider it my career.

By the time I started the job, it seemed as if the whole department had heard I worked for charities. But since that time, I have received so may odd comments about charities. I struggled to make sense of these for a long time, but now I have decided that the word “charity” clearly means different things to different people.

The reality that I work for international organizations who have been active in hundreds of lands and have trained millions of volunteers is hard to get across without oversharing. So I sort of grin and bear the comments I receive and let people carry on in their own rather fanciful or preposterous opinions.

I am going to give you a few examples of the things that have been said to me:

  • So do you do charity stuff to make your CV look good?
  • All charities are corrupt and the money you give never gets to the people who need it.
  • Do you go out in fancy dress with buckets fundraising?
  • Are you one of those people who all wear the same colour T-shirt and try to sign people up to direct debits for a charity?
  • Will you be helping the needy this weekend?
  • You must be a very special person to choose to be a charity worker.
  • It’s so nice you get to help out with charities, that’s what I want to do when I retire.
  • You must be quite well off to be able to afford to only work part-time so you can do your charity work.
  • I would help you with your charity if it is for abandoned kittens – nothing else matters to me.
  • I’d like to do something for charities but I don’t really have the time.

I cannot tell you how weird all these comments sound to me. I guess they just have a very different view of that word “charity” than I do.


6 thoughts on “What Does “Charity” Mean To You?”

  1. Good morning Lovely!! People are often limited by their own experiences. If they have only ever known “charity” in the form of fundraisers or people who have retired helping out in a local charity shop – that is all they know. You have built your life around working for very well organized organizations – who are like a corporate organization except for nobody receiving any wages. It’s something people may not be able to imagine working.


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