Right, I feel really churlish and A Bad Person for being annoyed by this, but there you go...
My department at work is about 50 people, split in to teams of 6-8 people. We work on a site of about 2000 people.
In our department we have a 'team' which has a rep from each of the work-teams, who organise social things, charity things, etc. We have a pumpkin carving competition comingup and we have a couple of cake sales each year (most recently for the World's Biggest Coffee Morning).
Children in Need is coming up. Well, we only did a cake sale in September, so we can't do one in November. What shall we do in November then? asks the cheery-social-team. They decide to hold a raffle.
Initially, each team in our department was asked to supply a prize for the raffle. This evolved in to writing letters to local companies to get them to donate a prize for our raffle. This has now evolved in to the expectation that each person in the department will provide at least one prize for the raffle - either one they've begged from a local company or something they have bought to donate.
I'm not going to do it. I feel bad about it in a way, BUT I don't think it's right that my colleagues can force me to support a charity (either financially [by buying a prize] or with my 'copious' spare time [letter writing until some company gives in and gives me something]). The charities I support, I support in the time and manner of my choosing.
If they'd asked for donations for the raffle 'if you have anything to offer', that would be fine. But now it's a case of 'here's a copy of the form letter, change it to your name, send it off to eight million companies and see what you can blag'. It also seems to be turning in to a competition of who can get the best freebie prize. And we're not talking small things either - the two bottles of drink I could donate looks feeble in comparison to my desk-neighbour's donation of a patio heater!
Gah, I do feel like a meanie for not getting involved; but I don't agree with the fact that participation is now being forced upon everybody by a 'team' that is supposed to be there to improve our morale and make our department a Nice Place To Be.