Dealing With Tzedakah Collectors [#14645]

August 19, 2021


There are many different people from Eretz Yisrael who come here collecting for various causes, such as to pay off their debts, or for an upcoming wedding, etc. How should I deal with them - especially when they keep nudging me to give them more money? Even when I tell them I don’t have anything on me to give them, they still pressure me, asking me to pay through a credit card. In general, I become anxious from these collectors, when they don’t leave me alone and they want to talk to me more and ask me to give them more money. They disturb me during davening or they stand near the door, and even I tell them that I have nothing to give them, they still continue to ask me for money, as if I must be rich. Then I feel guilty that I couldn’t give them anything.
Sometimes they come to my house, one after the other, and often they come in the same car. Six collectors or more can keep coming to my door, one after the other. For philanthropists, this is bigger issue, because a lot of money is expected from them. But even people who don’t have a lot of money are often bombarded by door-to-door collectors who come, one after the other, to the same house. By the time the third collector comes to my house, I have nothing left to give him, because I just gave to the first two. And sometimes they act disrespectful. For example, I know of a certain person who tries to give $20 to every collector who comes to his door, and he saves his maaser money for this cause. Once he only had a $10 bill, and when he gave the $10 to the collector, the collector reacted with surprise: “Only $10?? I was told that in this house, nobody walks away with anything less than $20.”
So what is the right way to handle these tzedakah collectors?


Establish clear boundaries [when giving tzedakah], but do it in a pleasant and graceful manner. When you give away money to others, it should be done out of a spiritual desire to be magnanimous to others, which is a trait of the nefesh Elokis (G-dly soul) of a Jew, as opposed to a mere desire to take off the pressure and guilt that’s on you, which is a reaction of the nefesh habehaimis (animal soul). Carefully and calmly consider how much money you should give away. Try to determine the amount of money that Hashem expects of you to give for another, and after you have reached the conclusion, establish clear boundaries of how much you will give and where to draw the line of your giving. But even when you keep to your boundaries, do it pleasantly and gracefully.