An Open Letter to Charities Regarding Over-Soliciting and Telephone Solicitation

September 16, 2004 by
Filed under: Life, Shoot Yourself in the Foot 

Dear Charity Fundraising Personnel,

My wife and I make a good living. We have also made the decision not to have children, so our expenses are comparatively lower than people with children. That means that we have a little extra money. We believe in donating to charities that help people. We also believe in spreading our money widely rather than concentrating on one or two causes.

Unfortunately, it seems that you regard a donor as another name to be sold to other charities. This causes LOTS of mail at my house. Additionally, some of you feel that if I gave once, I’ll give again – right away. That ADDS to the pile of mail. The end result of this is that we now receive 3 or 4 letters per day from charities wanting our money.

What effect does that have on you? There are a few:
1. Most solicitations from charities that we have never donated to are recycled unopened.
2. All solicitations from charities who mail to us too often (once a week in some cases) are recycled unopened.
3. Many solicitations from charities that we do donate to are caught up in the above, and recycled unopened.

There’s just too much mail coming in wanting my money. This Presidential Election year has made it worse. My wife and I are registered in opposite parties, and BOTH parties seem to feel that we’ll donate to them – even to Senate candidates from other states! It’s gotten to the point where I want to consider stopping donations just to cut down on the amount of mail.

When it comes to telephone solicitations, things are even worse. Our telephone numbers are on the national and state Do Not Call lists. Now I know that charities are exempt from those rules, but what makes you think that I want to have my dinner interrupted by a rude person demanding my charity money anymore than I want the interruption from someone selling a timeshare? We are sufficiently upset by this that we have made a rule – we will NOT donate to someone who solicits money via telephone AT ALL. No phone pledges, and no mailed donations either. You call us, you’re cut off!

It just takes a little longer to adjust than others, but you’ll get there! Remember, dietary success is a lifelong commitment, so you may need to coax your body into cialis viagra online blossoming under its new routines. This wonderful effect of viagra online delivery the drugs will last for about 4 hours to 6 hours. In recent years the medical community focuses primarily on the cheap levitra india link to heart disease. Studies also shows that many men feel cheapest price for levitra shy for this treatment. There are a few simple rules to getting our money:
1. Be a cause or charity that we believe in. It’s a very good sign if we’ve given you money in the past – you’re likely to get more. It also helps if you have a good reputation for putting most of your donations to work, rather than using them to raise more.
2. Send us a letter requesting funds once or twice a YEAR. I make my donations based on the amount that I want you to get for the whole year. Asking me more often isn’t going to make me give more – it’s going to annoy me and you’ll get less.
3. For Pete’s Sake – don’t send me a letter with suggested donation amounts where the lowest amount is MORE than I gave last year. That’s just pushy. Maybe I can give you more that last year, and maybe I will. Maybe I have reasons that I don’t want to give as much as last year – because I’ve chosen to allocate my charity money differently or because my finances are tighter. When I give you $100 one year, and your letter lists options of $150, $300, and $500 you’re telling me that you see me like a big piggy bank. Try $100, $150, and $200. Or better yet, $75, $100, and $150. I use Quicken and keep track – when I put your name into the electronic checkbook it tells me exactly what I gave you last time.
4. Don’t EVER, EVER CALL ME. That will get you a polite request to put me on your Do Not Call list, and a complete stoppage of donations. Repeated calls will get you an FTC or state complaint. It’s perfectly fine to call me to ask if I’ll participate in your activity (work on houses, serve at the soup kitchen, walk in a fundraiser, donate blood), but DON’T CALL ASKING FOR MONEY.
5. Sometimes, I only want to donate once. Maybe my deceased aunt or her family requested a donation to the “whatever disease she had” fund. I want to honor her memory in a more permanent way than flowers, so I donate to your charity. That doesn’t mean that I’m now a convert to the cause and want to donate again.

Follow those rules, and you’ll stop wasting money on mailed solicitations and phone calls, and start putting my money where it should be – to serve the end goals of the organization.


Mark Smith

(I’ve submitted this to the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam)


4 Comments on An Open Letter to Charities Regarding Over-Soliciting and Telephone Solicitation

  1. Sarah on Tue, 21st Sep 2004 6:45 pm
  2. Regarding junk mail–especially junk mail from charities–I’m about ready to start recycling–sending one charity’s begging letter to another charity in the envelope provided. It would cost me a few cents per envelope, but it would give me a bit of passive aggressive pleasure.

    And for the phone solicitors, I say, “Just a moment. Please hold.” Then I lay the phone down on the counter or table, and resume whatever it was I was doing when I was so rudely interrupted. When I hear the tone that indicates the other party has hung up, I hang up, too.

    Again, it’s passive aggressive, but I know of no other way to fight back.

  3. Joe in Lake George on Fri, 24th Sep 2004 7:15 pm
  4. The tip that was left was 2.5% for a bill of $77 and a group of 8 people. If he wasn’t going to leave a tip then he should have gone to Mc Donald’s. When the police came Taveras was asked to pay the rest of the bill and chose to go to the police station instead.

  5. Tim on Mon, 29th Sep 2008 1:07 pm
  6. I happen to be one of the owners of MyJunkTree and as a new company I search the web to see if we are getting any visibility out there and I post n relevant Blogs.

    We launched the company because we were tired of all the junk mail we were receiving and we personally did not want to bounce all over the web to contact all the different companies to stop it all. First and foremost we wanted to let people choose what they wanted to let come to their home knowing that some people really do like some of the coupons and catalogs. So our clients choose what they want stopped.

    We also had to provide a service that is different than the other services out there, so here is what we offer:

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    And, yes we are a paid service and yes you can do everything that we do for free, if you want to do all the research and spend the time contacting the companies yourself it can easily be done. We have just done all of the legwork for our clients and feel there is value in the service we provide. So check out MyJunkTree and make difference in your mailbox.

  7. Tim on Tue, 25th Nov 2008 8:03 am
  8. If you want to do more than just Stop Junk Mail that comes to your home, this site might also be of interest to you. Stopping Free Papers. It is a free service and they help you stop the delivery of all the free papers that are thrown in your driveway. The site is sponsored by MyJunkTree and it is totally free!

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