“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or tinkling cymbal…And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”- American King James Bible
Clearly, charity is a good thing…No down side. All religious faiths encourage the practice. Even the US government supports largesse by providing tax deductions for charitable giving. Most of us get warm, fuzzy feelings from making financial and volunteer contributions to good causes. There’s a sort of “righteous glow” that comes from directly or indirectly contributing to the health, education, and welfare of our fellow-citizens, animals, our international neighbors, right?
Well yes. But not always.
Having made a financial contribution to charitable organizations, we are often subjected to multiple letters, postcards, emails, and phone calls requesting further contributions, sometimes following close on the heels of the one you just made. These appeals start to feel like assaults, especially the phone calls, often robo calls, that come in daily- morning, noon and night. The mail solicitations have enclosed swag like address labels, notecards, or even money we don’t want or need. Now where’s that warm glow?
Who doesn’t feel guilty ignoring calls from charities that purport to raise money to fight children’s cancer, water purity, abandoned gerbils? Who doesn’t feel guilty accepting enclosed “gifts” without sending back a contribution to the cause? Why doesn’t the charity use the money spent on these “gifts” for their cause!
So at the risk of looking like Scrooge, here are a few things I had to learn the hard way.
1. Use the Charity Watch’s Charity Rating Guide to research each charity before you donate. Not every charity is legitimate. Not every charity gives the bulk of its solicited funds to the actual cause.
2. Enclose a note when you donate, asking that the organization not rent, sell or exchange your name, address and giving history with anyone else.
3. If you don’t want to support a particular charity, ask them to delete your name from their mailing lists. Sometimes the lists are rented so save the mailing label and the “reply device” from the mailings. They probably have codes that indicate which list your name came from. Then ask the organization that mailed you the solicitation for the name of the organization from which it rented the list. Then call that organization.
4. Contact the Direct Marketing Association to have your name removed from the mailing lists or telephone lists of some direct mail marketing companies and nonprofit organizations.
Mail Preference Service or Telephone Preference Service (Write a separate letter to each service)
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512