The following is a weekly 60 Minutes commentary by Correspondent Andy Rooney. This was first broadcast on March 28, 2004.
For about a year of my life, I was really broke. The only good thing about that was, now that I have some money, I appreciate it.
It's funny, but one of the most satisfying things about having money you worked so hard to get, is giving some of it away. You'd think that would be easy, too, but it isn't.
I can never decide who to give to. Everyone's after me.
This is just a week's mail, but they're all asking for money, and it's hard to tell the legitimate charities from the con artists.
Habitat for Humanity... Partners for the Future...
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund doesn't want anyone to bend this.
I don't like to give to an organization that uses any tricky way of raising money, but some perfectly good organizations send you labels with your name and address to put on your envelopes. You're supposed to feel guilty if you use them without giving them anything.
These are from some Indian school in Ashland, Mont. Doctors Without Borders sends stickers. And The World Wildlife Fund sends these with pictures of animals. I mean, who's mean enough not to give to an organization that helps pandas?
A lot of fundraisers use the American flag to get us to give. Covenant House sends a cross from Sister Tricia.
MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving - gives you what they call a free gift enclosed.
Free Gifts from the Make a Wish Foundation. Aren't all gifts free?
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF doesn't fool around. They damned well want you to respond immediately.
This letter is marked "PERSONAL," but it isn't personal at all. Inside, it says I can buy a leadership table for 10 at an awards dinner for $50,000. Well, thanks, but I think I'll eat home alone that night.
A good organization called The Interfaith Alliance has Walter Cronkite's picture on the envelope ... The Most Trusted Fund-Raiser in America.
If you went to college, they never forget you. I give what I think is a lot to my college, but giving them anything only encourages them to ask for more. I'd like to have all the money my college spends for stamps on letters asking me for money.
One last thing: Every letter asking for a donation ought to say how much the fund-raisers spend on getting us to give and how much they make for themselves.
Written By Andy Rooney
Copyright 2004 CBS. All rights reserved.