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Postal charity requests

(39 Posts)
felice Fri 29-Nov-13 14:16:24

I just recieved a letter from Medecins sans Frontieres asking me to donate to their Philippines appeal. I am a great support of them and have a friend whos husband is a doctor with them. Am I being grumpy in thinking that the money for this mail shot would have been better spent in the Philippines. I am one of the local coordinators of Christian Aid and we have worked very hard to help out.
If everyone in Brussels got one of these letters which also included a small pocket notebook it must have cost a lot of money surely.

sunseeker Fri 29-Nov-13 15:04:52

I agree, I have received similar mail shots from several different charities. They obviously have data which confirms that it is cost effective but for those of in receipt of these letters it does seem like a waste of money. I can't afford to support all the charities which write to me and I feel uncomfortable disposing of the letters without making a donation, which I suppose it what they play on. I have had to cut back on my charitable donations and now only support 2 local ones and 1 national.

HildaW Fri 29-Nov-13 15:07:23

The Red cross send us a package full of odds and ends that cannot be cheap. It appears to be a lot of personalised labels, cards etc with my name on it and borders on emotional blackmail. I never know what to do with it. I would not wish to use it as I am not a fan of flaunting my charity donations/purchases, yet throwing it away somehow seems inappropriate.
Being sent, unsolicited, an envelope full of cheap tat does not make me want to donate to that charity - if anything it puts me right off it.

I get a huge kick out of working for a small local charity were we all work together to help each other and carefully make every penny count. Large charities seem to act more like profit making companies and could learn a lesson or two from us little ones.

P.S. was more than happy to give to a Round Table street collection for the DEC knowing all monies were going direct to the Philippines.

Charleygirl Fri 29-Nov-13 15:12:27

Sorry, I am hard hearted and bin the lot. I donate to three, end of. I am not made of money and there must be hundreds of charities who are looking for money. One must stop somewhere. Very soon I will be returning to sender as I am fed up with the load I receive. Charities do not pay postage but paper, ink and envelopes are not free.

Recently I received a certificate and a beautifully made badge for my volunteer work. I would rather they had put that money towards research as that charity is always begging for money from its members.

goldengirl Fri 29-Nov-13 15:24:48

I'm afraid I return them to sender - and feel guilty about doing it. I support a number of charities and prefer to choose my own rather than have them thrust upon me.

I'm afraid I'm also one of those people who shakes a magazine before purchasing it to rid it of all the sheets of loose advertising. I collect them up and pop them onto the bottom shelf. I don't leave them lying around [virtuous emoticon!]

Elegran Fri 29-Nov-13 15:29:02

I get these packs of personalised labels and gift tags, too, and a fat envelope of beautiful things painted by artists using their mouths. I hate to destroy these things, but I would not use them.

I have repacked the mouth artists stuff, and plan to return it with a request to be taken off their list, and I think I shall do the same with everything else I can. It feels churlish, but it is better than having them waste money sending it to me unasked every year. I resent the emotional blackmail being applied to me to pay up for something I did not choose to buy.

nannyfran Fri 29-Nov-13 15:52:06

My DH and I did voluntary work for the Red Cross for many years, he still does, and we both feel the same as you, HildaW.They do a great job in many ways, but as with all the others, these " free gifts" just put us off giving.
We do give to several charities by direct debit and can't afford more. One of these is the Salvation Army after hearing a radio programme that showed what a high % of their money goes to helping people.I even had a letter of apology from them once as they sent a begging letter by mistake, that impressed me.
I would feel very awkward using the cards etc.How would the people you sent them to know if you'd contributed or not?
I agree with you, Elegran, the emotional blackmail makes me very uncomfortable, and pictures of suffering animals really upset me as well as the foot and mouth stuff.I also sent them back.

henetha Fri 29-Nov-13 16:02:13

This whole subject of giving to charities has become quite difficult in recent years, hasn't it. We all want to do what we can, but there has to be a limit unless we are very rich. We can't walk down the street in my nearest town without being assailed by kind looking ladies waving their charity box in our face. And as for the vast number which arrive by post, well!
For the last two years I have returned those cards from the foot and mouth artists and asked them not to send any more. Guess what?
They arrived as usual a couple of weeks ago. This time I binned them.
I've got to harden my heart and stick to my favourite three charities which I support all year round, in my own small way.
I make one exception at Christmas and that is to give to the Salvation Army as they do such marvellous work for the homeless.

shysal Fri 29-Nov-13 16:07:05

I used to send those things back, asking to be removed from their list. However they still keep arriving so I bin them. I also receive raffle tickets to sell from a few charities, including some that I support, and also used to return them unsold, but don't bother now. I hope I shall not be accused of selling them and pocketing the money!
When I was working I used to sponsor several children through World Vision. When I retired and divorced I had to drastically cut back on my spending so wrote to them to explain. I have never heard from them again, not even for one-off requests. I consider that to be efficient on their part.

Gally Fri 29-Nov-13 16:20:42

I have a number of charities I give to via direct debit and in the last month have felt so moved by appeals for various tragedies that I have sent donations to more. However, I cannot understand why some charities send ridiculously distasteful gifts like coasters, bookmarks, badges and cards (which go straight into the bin) when it must cost them a fortune to do so. I wish they would desist. I suppose the amount they receive in answer to these requests must outweigh the expense? I prefer to choose 'my' charities but perhaps some people only give when they feel they get something in return hmm

petra Fri 29-Nov-13 18:05:30

I was sent the pictures done by disabled artists. I sent them to a little girl in Zimbabwe who I support. We are not allowed to send presents as such so something like this is useful to me, as I see it as giving her an insight into something she might never see.

grannyactivist Fri 29-Nov-13 18:32:14

Two members of my family sponsor children through World Vision. When there is a disaster and WV already have people on the ground they get letters asking for donations (my husband usually DOES donate), but there is nothing gimmicky about the organisation in our experience.
I too get the tacky Red Cross cards and coasters and am frustrated by this approach as I am methodical with my donations. At the beginning of the year I review the charities I support, make a decision about whether to continue or add new ones, and that's it except for one off donations in emergencies; I don't want to be pestered.

Nonu Fri 29-Nov-13 18:35:24

I have been sent so much stuff from charities, I am afraid I just bin the whole lot .
I support my own charities , but how much does it cost send out this stuff that is what I ask myselff

tiggypiro Fri 29-Nov-13 19:12:05

I will not support any charity which can afford to send out mail shots. I had a direct debit to one charity who then started nagging me by mail and telephone to increase my donation. The DD was cancelled and re-directed to one which was more appreciative.

merlotgran Fri 29-Nov-13 19:53:16

I'm relieved to see so many of you also bin the tacky stuff that charities send out at Christmas -the Red Cross are the worst. I've always felt guilty but I'd rather support local charities like EACH (East Anglian Children's Hospices)

I rescued a cygnet this summer and tried for two days to get some support from the RSPCA. Every time I got through I was redirected to an automated request for donations. In the end I managed to get a private rescue centre to take it.

FlicketyB Fri 29-Nov-13 20:27:39

The income of most of these charities would be considerable less if they did not send out these mailshots. That is a fact even if we wish it wasn't.

I have a portfolio of charities I give to on a regular basis and I review then every year and sometimes drop one and pick up another. Each month one of them gets a cheque and I work round each in turn.

Any mailings I receive from them or any others goes in the bin without a thought. Charities which get dropped like a brick are charities that ring me at home asking for more or charities that try to morally blackmail me by sending me cheap and tacky gifts. The Red Cross and Marie Curie Cancer charity are the worst for this and I do not give to either, nor will I consider doing so during while they indulge in these underhand practices.

But again they do this because it pays.

Tegan Fri 29-Nov-13 20:30:11

The children went carol singing and sent the money to the Donkey Sanctuary; many years later I'm still getting literature from them. We only gave them a few pounds.

rosesarered Fri 29-Nov-13 20:50:55

We shouldn't feel bad about binning unwanted stuff that comes through the post. Even the envelope full of stuff from the disabled artists because they know that enough money comes in to warrant a blanket targeting of all and sundry. We support The Salvation Army and Barnados at Christmas and that's it, rather than spread the money thinly around.Just give to your chosen charities.

grannyactivist Fri 29-Nov-13 21:08:09

Sorry - don't get me started on the Donkey Sanctuary. Their income for the year 2012 was £27.1 million. I had a lodger who worked there briefly and her tales of (in my view) extravagant money spent on the donkeys' welfare made me wish to send some of the local elderly people there for some TLC.
I have found this list (created in April 2012)to be quite helpful in deciding where my money does or doesn't go:
It's quite an eye opener.

Flowerofthewest Fri 29-Nov-13 21:25:05

I give regularly and monthly to three charities - only a small amount to each - I have received at least 5 charity envelopes with cards, gift tags and the personally printed stickers.

Hunt Sat 30-Nov-13 23:24:45

I give regularly to several national charities. I fondly imagined that I would no longer be deluged with requests from these at Christmas but no, still they come. I rang several of the charities and asked them why they are so persistent in asking the givers for more. I was told, ''We get more from our regular givers with a mail shot than we do from the general public'' I was amazed.

Genevieve489 Sun 01-Dec-13 07:57:00

We donated to the Tsunami Appeal in 2004 and did it through the Red Cross. Since then, we are regularly inundated with envelopes full of 'stuff' and it just means that I won't donate to them again. The stuff goes in the bin and I no longer feel guilty about it. I also used to get telephone calls from other charities we do support asking me to raise the amount of the monthly donation - really put my back up - until I asked them to stop calling me, which they have done. The only charity I don't mind calling me is the RNIB, who phone to ask if it's all right to send us raffle tickets.

felice Sun 01-Dec-13 09:55:01

Thank you for all the replies, I no longer feel guilty about re-cycling the stuff sent to me.

Iam64 Sun 01-Dec-13 09:57:53

This thread is so reassuring. My chosen charities are the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, cancer, Motor Neurone Disease, and Arthritis. I'm a volunteer with a dog rescue organisation and have signed some on line petitions about animal welfare, puppy farming etc.
I had a door step run in with a young man at 8pm one evening, who was collecting for the Red Cross. When I told him I do support the REd Cross, but never give money to people at the door, he said brightly "that's ok, we can do it through the window".
I have been inundated with letters full of personalised christmas tags, cards etc by various charities, including an A4 envelope stuffed with stuff from the Red Cross.
I have in the past sent things back, with a request to be removed from the mailing list, but of course that doesn't happen. I now put everything in the re-cycling bin. Presumably, these mail shots must raise more money than they cost, but it does seem such an expensive waste of time and money. Plus, it is so irritating.
Rant over - for now

Nelliemoser Sun 01-Dec-13 10:25:12

GrannyA that is indeed an eye opener! Is that annual income or just assets.
I would never try to sell raffle tickets etc for The National Trust or Ramblers or other such cultural organisations. They seem to me in a way more to be supporting personal interest activities rather than general public welfare, if you see what I mean.

Oxfam and a child sponsorship organisation get most of my giving, or any of the DEC projects. After that its the local hospice, maybe Macmillan fund Marie curie or similar.
I once got the cold shoulder from someone at work, for not contributing to a fund to help a group get to China for a charity walk.
My argument was why not just do the walk in Britain and save a great deal of money on travel which could go to the fund.