So a few weeks ago I visited a frequent flier forum to see if any of the members knew of a way for my organization to take donations in the form of air miles, as I know a lot of people travel for work and have a ton of miles but not a lot of money. For the Sanctuary, it would be helpful to use the miles for rescue trips, and I could also take miles in lieu of a paycheck, since I don't currently get paid anything. I didn't get any replies for a few days, and then this came:
"i believe that nothing is wrong by your thoughts concerning obtaining donated airmiles for charity purposes,but if i were the owner of any airline,i would insist that any or all donated airmiles do not involve charity website only,but involve having those interested to donate via your website,but your website would direct all donors out of your website linked to that airline.
That way,the airline could track each and every aspect of any donation.
the airline could ensure all miles being donated belong to those whom are donating them
i do not know anything about the process,but merely stating how i believe the process is probally maintained for the protection of all involved.
As to your mention of your own charity getting added to some list, i would tell you to telephone each and every airline to be directed to the correct department that handles those actions.
good luck, hope my thoughts enlightened you to atleast call the airlines on the phone,since that is the 1st thing i would have done,even though i know as much about the subject as you."
I know I'm being petty, but this really pissed me off. I stopped myself from blasting this guy two or three times and ended up not responding because I think he was really trying to be helpful, albeit in a really annoying, patronizing, self-indulgent way. Seriously -- what the hell? He says he knows nothing whatsoever about the process, and then states that, based on his complete lack of knowledge on the subject, he believes things to "probally" work a certain way. Then he says I should call every airline and ask them to add my tiny charity to their lists of huge nonprofits that they partner with; I may not be an expert on air miles, but I am an expert on nonprofit management, and that's about the stupidest business advice I've ever heard. I tell you what -- you call every one of the world's 120 plus airlines with frequent flier programs and see how far you get. In fact, call one of them and get back to me.
He then has the gall to suggest that his utter lack of knowledge on the subject would be enlightening to me and that he hopes I will take his advice, because, even though he knows only as much as I do on the subject, it's the course of action he would have taken, before bothering the busy, overworked frequent flier community to see if any of them might actually know something. God forbid I would try to gather information and do research before going to the airline directly -- wouldn't want to know what the hell I was talking about ahead of time, right? He says he knows as much as I do on the subject, but as it turns out, he knows quite a bit less, and that's impressive, because I know next to nothing. "If I were the owner of any airline?" Come on out of your ass some time -- it's much nicer out here. Of course, to be fair, that's an assumption, but I think it's a safer one than the ones this guy makes about how airlines handle their charity mileage programs.
Sometimes people try so hard to be helpful they end up just being a pain in the ass. 'I don't know the answer to your question, so I'll make some shit up.' Have you ever been driving on a city street and had to slam on your brakes because the person in front of you is stopping to let someone pull out of a parking lot? In being courteous to one person, he's pissing off the ten people that nearly wrecked behind him. Or what about that friend that insists that you sleep on her lumpy-ass couch instead of checking into a hotel with a nice, big bed and free HBO? She cooks you disgusting food for dinner so you don't have to spend your money at a restaurant. Thanks to her generosity you feel like a prisoner in some creepy David Lynch movie.
A few years ago I met a guy in Bangkok, and after we talked for a few minutes, I asked him if he knew where there was an Internet cafe. He said he did, and rather than give me directions, he walked there with me. The only problem was that he had no idea where there was an Internet cafe -- he was just a really helpful guy. After wandering around for nearly an hour, I told him I was hungry and wanted lunch; he showed me to a restaurant where I had the worst meal I ate my whole time in Thailand, and he told me he'd be back in half an hour to continue 'helping' me find Internet access. He was a really nice guy, and honestly, I was a bit amazed at how hard he tried to help me even when he had no actually ability to do so. And I still sneaked out the back of the restaurant and ditched his ass.
Last year in Costa Rica my friend and I had a flat tire -- a scenario I'd dealt with plenty of times, complicated by the fact that the vehicle was parked on sand, making it tough to jack up high enough to get the spare on. I had it under control, but then another guy showed up to 'help'. He was trying to impress my friend and show that he was handy and would make her a good husband or something, so instead of getting the tire on and going home, we dicked around in the rain for an hour, it got dark, and we had to have someone else come in the morning and take care of it. Nice guy -- I thought she should have gone ahead and dated him, but I wasn't as much of a fan the first night we met.
Running a nonprofit, my whole life is about helping, so I guess that makes me somewhat of an authority on the subject. There are a lot of ways a person can help, but sometimes helping isn't helpful. Sometimes you have to let people help themselves, or get out of the way so someone who actually has something to offer can step in. A little discernment is in order. Help where you're needed, leave it alone where you're not, and learn to tell the difference.
I realize this probably makes me sound like an ungrateful jerk. I guess I'm OK with that.