Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Charity Postal Appeals

I’m a great believer in supporting charities and make a small monthly donation to Cancer Research (two of my sisters died of the disease), which is painlessly deducted from my bank account on a monthly basis.

However, it seems that there are an increasing number of charities competing for our patronage, some using, what I believe to be, some quite crafty (and costly) tactics.

It has become increasingly commonplace for charities to send items, such as greetings cards, stationery sets, coasters etc, through the post, often causing the recipient to feel guilty if they do not send a donation in return. Many people receiving these mailings are not in a position to donate even if they would like to; they may be elderly, on low incomes or ill themselves, for example. They may feel guilty at not being able to ‘pay’ for these ‘gifts’ – I know that this scenario applies to a couple of elderly relatives of mine.

Some of the worst offenders actually send coins through the post, which would be better added straight to the charity tin, whilst I’ve noticed a third world charity sending out baby hats and bootees, complete with a label to add your name and return with your donation. Yet again, these items are wasted when the recipients can not or do not respond.

I understand that charities need to make people aware of their existence and needs, but to my mind, the charities that use these dodgy mailing practices are the ones that I am least likely to support. Funds should be spent first and foremost on the charitable causes themselves, with a less expensive (and less underhand) form of marketing employed.

We do need to support charities, but we should all be able to choose which ones we would like to support, without feeling ‘swayed’ by ‘gifts’.

What do you think?

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