Nay To Nonprofit Sidewalk Fundraisers

RECEIVED Thu., Oct. 3, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Can we, as a city, put some collective pressure on large nonprofit organizations to remove their panhandlers from Austin's sidewalks? Save the Children, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace: We're looking at you. Your insistence on littering Downtown with friendly (though sometimes very pushy and obnoxious) fundraisers is negatively impacting the quality of life for all of us who work in, live in, and use this city.
    I actually support a lot of the organizations and their missions, but having to run a daily gauntlet of clipboard-wielding, handshake-offering, shiny-faced kids makes me want to cancel my future donations. The annoyance of having to say no to the same people over and over negatively impacts the organizations' image in our community (not to mention, probably, the self-esteem of the kids who are being turned down hundreds of times each day). Beyond that, I don't completely fathom the business model. I'm sure the canvassers don't earn much money, but I know that there are more cost-effective ways to solicit donations.
    Please stop. Give the streets back to the classic panhandlers. At least we have more clarity on where the money's going when we donate to them.
Erich Pelletier
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