Monday, October 10, 2011

Stressed by Requests

Are you stressed by too many requests for donations? We can limit the amount of solicitations that fill our mailboxes and waste trees, time and money. This can be stressful all year, but most especially at the end when many charities make a final effort to finance their humanitarian programs. It’s not too late to take charge of how much charity mail we receive.


Relieve the Burden

What follows are some suggestions from the Federal Trade Commission and people who have figured out how to dispense with an unwanted paper stressor:

·   When you choose to donate to a charity include a note asking that the charity not rent, sell or exchange your personal information and donation history.

·   You can ask a nonprofit organization to limit donation requests to once or twice a year.  If the organization fails to do this, you may wish to find a different charity. 

·   If an unsolicited request includes a postage paid stamp and you want to stop future mailings, write a note on the slip that contains your name and address asking that your name be removed from their mailing list. Mail it back to the organization. You can also print out slips with your name and address and send it to the charity with your own stamp.


When Feelings Are Involved

·   Some charities elicit an emotional response with pictures of people suffering hardships.  As worthy as a cause may be, your feelings of guilt may transform into resentment when you find yourself dipping too deeply into your own pockets to support an unsolicited cause.

·   Be aware of charities that send gifts such as note pads, clothing, pens, etc.  They may be well intended but you might wonder why donations are used to fund promotional items you may not want. You may also feel guilty if you don’t send a donation for a “free” gift.  Include a note with your donation asking that instead of receiving gifts you would like your donation to be used for the fine programs you support.

Consider choosing a few legitimate, worthy causes for your giving dollars. To make sure a charity is on the “up and up” research it with these organizations:

BBBGiving Alliance:
American Institute of Philanthropy:

Finally there is always the refuse bin for unwanted solicitations.  This works in the moment, but may not stop future unsolicited requests. 

Be charitable and give, but on your terms!

A. M.

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