It’s just something about the end of the year that makes a person want to be a little nicer to other people … to be a tad more jovial about things … and to be a wee bit more on the generous side.
Which makes it prime season for charities, who try and encourage people to capitalize on that feeling of goodwill by making donations of their time or money.
I don’t mind getting out the chequebook or credit card and making a donation towards a good cause.
But the way some of these organizations have been operating lately, it’s making me feel a bit Grinch-like.
Case in point:
Last month, I got my annual gift catalogue from a charity I give to a couple times a year. They have all sorts of neat things you can order for people in need – from farming starter kits to piglets to school supplies for kids. I think this is an awesome idea.
Since my mom also wanted to order, but doesn’t know how to use the Internet, I let her borrow my catalogue to make her order, and made my order for four mosquito nets online.
Not long after that, I got my thank-you note and my receipt, along with a tear-away form I could fill out if I wanted to make another donation.
This didn’t annoy me.
It was the envelope I got from them within two weeks, asking for donations to buy coats for kids in Eastern Europe – as well as another two gift catalogues, one for me AND my mom – which did.
My feeling of goodwill from the previous fortnight almost evaporated.
Don’t these guys know anything about cross-referencing? It would probably cut down on the number of trees they killed to send out all that stuff.
And it’s not the first time this year they’ve done this. Over the months, I’ve gotten letters with packets of seeds to mail to people in impoverished countries, and countless other things. And I don’t have the money to give every single time they do this, so these things unfortunately get tossed out in the recycling or the trash. And I feel bad, because this is a waste.
But if some charities want to get more people to give more to their causes, they should stop inundating them with mail – and in some cases, persistent phone calls – because it turns people like me right off.
Besides, doesn’t all the material being mailed out, multiple times, monthly, defeat the purpose of helping people in need, by spending the money that should be going to them, on glossy brochures, letters with perforated forms, cards, and stamps and envelopes to send them?
This is not to say all charities do this. In fact, the really good ones keep their papering to a minimum, sending out the essentials, like the occasional newsletter letting you know what they’re working on.
This should be something more organizations should do, if they’re not doing so already. At least donors can see where their dollars are going.
I understand that there are so many different causes and charities out there, all vying for people’s attention. And maybe in this day and age, they feel this is the best way of getting their message out.
But personally, I think they need to practice a little moderation with the paper campaigns.