September 20, 2010 in Features

Annie’s Mailbox: How to stop the charity requests

Kathy Mitchell/Marcy Sugar
 

Dear Annie: Along with millions of others, I am being overwhelmed with letters and phone calls from charities requesting donations. I average six requests a day for donations to worthy causes – medical, political, feed the poor, animals, etc. They send me trinkets, T-shirts, calculators and many thousands of return address labels that I could not use up if I lived a thousand years. I have already received five 2011 calendars. I am a regular donor to some organizations, but this is too much. I know all donations are voluntary, but many organizations send a follow-up letter if they do not receive a donation in response to their first request. The letters resemble an overdue payment notice, and I’m sure many people send money because they think they must comply. The government should take action to restrict nonprofit organizations. Aside from placing them on the “do not call” list, I suggest requiring all such mailings to use first-class postage. It could make the postal service profitable, or it could end the mailings and save millions of trees and reduce debris in landfills. I recently received a donation request from an organization that expended nearly 95 percent of its money for fundraising and administration. Only 5 percent was actually spent on the intended charitable cause. I’m tired of being overwhelmed by these scammers. What can I do? – Thomasville, N.C.

Dear Thomasville: Contact the charities, and ask them to remove your name from their mailing and phone lists. You also can fill out a do-not-mail form through directmail.com/directory/mail_preference. Anyone considering donating to a charity can check it out through the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org) or the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org/us/charity).

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