Next year, I am going to keep a box under my desk and deposit in it all the begging letters I receive, just so I can count them all up. I think I shall be needing more than one box, though.
What I would like to know, is how a person is supposed to deal with this great onslaught?
Not just the begging letters, but the ones that send you “free” stuff and if you ignore them, they send a follow-up: “Did you receive our free gift?”
Maybe one should be really polite and write back, saying “Yes. Thank you!”
But it’s not really a free gift. It’s supposed to make you feel you must send money.
Well who asked them to send me stuff, anyway?
Some of them send you a nice clean dollar bill, assuming, of course you will send it back with a few more dollars attached.
But some make you feel they are really desperate because they can only afford to send you pennies or maybe a quarter. I have a change jar full of that!
Then there are those who say that a rich benefactor has offered a”matching” donation…he will donate $5 for each $1 we contribute…if we can to come up with the first $10,000. So if you don’t respond to this letter, you will risk them losing a whole wonderful donation. Bah…
One charity that I supported for many years will not accept that I have retired and gone on a fixed income. I wrote to them a number of times explaining this, asking to be removed from their little list, but to no avail. They persisted with their “free” gifts. When these were items I could actually use I would send back a few dollars, once more asking them to stop. I even tried sending stuff back….Still the letters come. Children are starving. Apparently it’s my fault.
The mind boggles when you start to think about all these letters being assembled. All that paper! Do they seriously think that anyone has time to sit and read all the sad stories they send? Do they not realize that when they attach a picture of some poor abused creature, beaten to death, that a lot of us simply switch off, unwilling to be emotionally black-mailed and extorted in such a vile manner?
Yet when I cast those letters into the bin, I can’t help feeling that I am killing a tiger, a whale, a donkey, a dog…I am getting better, though, about that.
No wonder the administration costs are so high. Even if machines can print and assemble letters and stuff them in envelopes (can they?), someone has to think up all this stuff.
It really pisses me off. I am well aware of the need to be charitable. Like a lot of people, I have my favourite charities that I give to regularly. My preference is for charities that have low administrative fees. Charities that put your money straight to work. I would rather make a donation to a charity that is not a tax write-off, than give money that will go toward producing all that bumpf.
For a while, when I was young and less slug-like, I did some fund raising. My friend Tim had a great suggestion that we used very successfully. We made an appeal throughout the company I worked for, asking staff to contribute the equivalent of an hour’s pay. That way, everyone carried the burden equally and it put the fund into perspective. Who could not afford an hour’s pay?
Some people contributed several hours pay, but no-one contributed less which they surely would have done if we had just ask for an unqualified donation. It was a very good idea.
Obviously my fund-raising was small and time-limited. Still, I learned a lot from it, and I feel there has to be a better way than the total free-for-all fund raising in this country has become.
The really sad thing is that there are vulnerable people who receive begging letters, and take them all very seriously. Some people feel compelled to place their last dollars in these envelopes. It’s just sad.
Not only that, these piles and piles of junk mail are creating so much waste! It’s become my latest big worry, waste. I contemplate the comparatively small pile of rubbish that goes out from my house each week and try imagining it multiplied however many times. Oh my God.
Bit by bit I am trying to get plastic out of my life but it’s a bit like the crusade I once had which involved not buying anything that came from China. You would have an empty house.
So I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts?
Colin says he’ll get right on it