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  • 'Tis the Season (for charitable junk mail)

       November 30, 2009

    Over Thanksgiving, my Mom told me that she gets, on average, 15 pieces of mail a day asking her for charitable donations. My Mom gives a lot to charity, so on one hand I understand her appeal to marketers, on the other hand, I wonder how much of the money she gives just goes to solicitations.

    This time of the year, I get tons of requests for donations too. I try not to get too bent out of shape about it, but then today I got this in the mail:

    So, my question is, is this a donation or a threat? I think it's a threat. Basically, Smile Train is threatening to send me more and more mail until I donate. Great. I think the folks at Smile Train know damn well how annoying unsolicited mail is and I'm sure they think this is a brilliant tact. I don't see it that way. All I can think about are the people that genuinely believe in and support Smile Train. Their financial support is now apparently going to harass people who don't donate after the first unsolicited letter. How exactly does that help children with cleft lips and palates?

    But really, it's not just charities like Smile Train that are wasting money. I've done some charity walks, paddles and the like this year. So have a lot of my friends and when they're doing something for a cause, I'll generally chip in a few bucks. To be honest, I don't usually have a deep affinity for whatever organization they're involved in, but I do believe in supporting my friends. Unfortunately, I'm now convinced that just about all of every $25 or $50 donation has been spent trying to get me to donate more. Sure, people who've donated in the past are more likely to donate again. But the fact that I donated once isn't the only information these charities have about me. They know I made my donation in support of someone else and they know how much it was for. Is it really worth it to send letter after letter to someone who donated $25 to a bike ride? Who's in charge of designing their mail plans?

    Going forward, I think the next time someone is doing some run, I'm not going to donate in their name, I'm just going to give them money. They can give it to the charity and I can rest easy knowing that that charity won't waste time, space & money on me again.

    Is it wrong to be such a bitch about charity?

    Posted by at November 30, 2009 09:25 PM

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    #  December 1st, 2009 7:44 PM      themandownthehall
    Looks to me that Smile Train is fibbing. Give them a donation and you'll find more in your mailbox from them. I promise.

    No, you're not being a bitch because you don't like these things. I don't either. I really hate the ones that send things to me like stickers or those American Indian dream catchers that the American Indian charity sends me. I'm not going to keep it because I won't be guilted into giving like that, but I hate just tossing it into the trash too. What a waste.

    You're probably right. Of the 25 I send the entire amount is used to get me to donate again. If they did like some do, just a simple mailer every so often, they'd make more for their charity.

    There are some that don't do that. Most are local charities here in Charlotte, like Rev Marchiano's Harvest Home. It's made the news a couple times for how well it does it's job (rehabbing alcoholics and getting them jobs) and all I get is a newsletter and a quarterly mailing from them which I gladly fill out and send money in. The Marines Toys for Tots is a good one too. One mailing, maybe two a year and that's it.

    Support them if you want to support some and toss the rest into recycling like I do.




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