Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giving 'Til It Hurts

Over the years we have donated to many different charitable groups. When friends or neighbors lose a loved one, we honor their wishes for memorial donations to a favorite charity.

Now it seems that every one of them continues to solicit donations from us. Sometimes it's a phone call. Other times it is a letter, often including free greeting cards or address labels. Do they want me to feel guilty about receiving the gift and obliged to send money? Why can't they understand that I have my own favorite charities?

In 1992, we made a memorial contribution in honor of our neighbor's mother. We never once donated to this charity before 1992 and we have not once donated to this charity in the 18 years since. We continue to receive letters from this charity. (Yes, they found our NC address)

I resent these letters and interruptions into my life on many fronts. They are wasting time and money that could be used for providing the services they offer. The amount of paper used is staggering. I wish I knew how to stop them, but there seems no way. I have to assume that this method of solicitation must be cost effective, but surely there comes a point when they begin to realize that this family will not continue to make donations to them, noble though their work may be. This problem will not discourage us from making memorial donations, but I always cringe a little as I write the check. I know that in so doing I am placing myself on yet another contact list.

We do donate regularly to our favorite charitable organizations. While we give money to several organizations, our favorite is Doctors Without Borders, Medecins Sans Frontieres, (MSF). This group is not politically aligned and provides medical care to people all over the world, regardless of nationality, race, or any factor other than need in time of disaster. It is one way in which we recognize that we all share the planet and to honor the worth of all humanity.

So other charities...please take the message. We gave a one-time memorial gift. We value your work but we have our own favorite charities and unfortunately we cannot give to everyone. So please save the time and energy you expend soliciting money from us. You're making our giving hurt!


Cedar ... said...

yep,... same thing happens to me. frustrating.

Vicki Lane said...

I've had the same thing with memorial contributions. A children's home in Florida is the worst -- even though I wrote long ago, explaining that my gift was one-time, they continue with the newsletters etc. A big waste of resources!

Deborah said...

This was a good post! It is so true, if you give once, the organizations will think you will give over and over again! It's horrible the amount of waisted time and money they waste!

rainydaze said...

Good post! It makes me cringe to think of all of the money and resources wasted.
I wonder if using travelers checks, cashiers checks or even temporary checks (without the personal info printed at the top) would help to keep the donor info more anonymous.

robin andrea said...

Yes, we're still getting solicitations from organizations that we stopped contributing to years ago. It surprises me that environmental orgs waste so much paper.

troutbirder said...

No kidding! Grrr.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I agree with you. I get letters and phone calls almost daily. They do waste a lot of money on soliciting.

George said...

If you figure out a way to stop these appeals, please let us know. We have exactly the same problem.
Thanks for the birthday wishes.

Jayne said...

I know what you mean. I've given gifts in memory of people, and next thing I know, I am getting glossy catalogs in the mail! So much useless printing.

amarkonmywall said...

I agree, it's aggravating. I much prefer to give because the spirit moves me and I much prefer to pick my own favorite charities. Most of all, I can't stand the waste of paper and resources. Well written!

And the weather! It's been ever so much better for building. When do you think will be the right time to turn over a garden? When it comes to getting started, I know north and I now know south but I don't yet know Buncombe County!

Anonymous said...

My uncle had dementia before he died and his mailbox would overflow every day with requests for money. I think it is so obnoxious that they sell mailing lists. When he died, I had his mail forwarded to me (first class only) in order to settle his estate.

Unfortunately, the post office returns the third class mail with the forwarding address slapped on it, so we were deluged with the requests. I started writing DECEASED! Return to sender on all of them, but years later, we still get some requests addressed to him. I've tossed hundreds of "free" address labels with his name on them.

Lola said...

If an envelope is included try putting all back into said envelope {postage paid by the way}. That way they are paying postage to get their own junk mail back. lol
Or you could be accidentally declared deceased {like me} & that would stop a lot of stuff.

Ruth said...

If a charity did not respect my wishes to be left off their mailing list, I would never give to them anyway. I would suspect them of mismanaging my money anyway. MSF is a great organization in my opinion.

Laura said...

What a great post.
We receive phone calls- which really destroys peace-
I really don't like the phone ringing these days.
Does that sound extreme?
I just treasure quiet.
I enjoyed visiting,


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