I'm more of a charitable guy than I let on to most of my friends. The reason is that I like to give when I can, and give whatever I can, and sometimes I like to spread it around. Most of the time, when I go to the grocery store, I'll pull off one of these tags that they have to help feed the poor, and I'll donate anywhere from $2 to $5, depending on my mood that day.

Another reason I like to stay anonymous is because I don't want to get a lot of phone calls, mail, or email from someone who's now put me on a list as someone who donates. Some of my friends think I'm paranoid on that one, but here's a perfect example of what I mean.

This year, I decided to give to ten charities in December. I wrote each of them a check, something that's rare for me, and mailed them out. I was feeling really charitable this year and wanted to spread it around, knowing that the economy was in trouble and that donations were down.

In the last two weeks, I've received mail again from all of these organizations. Only two thanked me for my previous donation; maybe the rest didn't know it yet. But those two that thanked me also asked me for more; sheesh! And all the other organizations, of course, are doing the same. Last year, maybe I got a request once every four months; I certainly didn't want to get something every month.

I'm just throwing them all away, after I open them and shred anything that has my name on it. Once again, I've had to learn a lesson that I thought I already knew. As an independent consultant, I send out advertisements to businesses myself, but usually no sooner than every 3 months will someone get another thing from me; most of the time it's much longer than that. I don't want to be a pest, but at the same time, I'm not really asking for anything. I understand charities needing money to survive, but I have to say that I don't like their methods; reminds me of those televangelists.

Sometimes, even when someone is trying to do good, they may not recognize that they're inadvertently doing bad. So, back to the underground I go; only my accountant will know for sure.