was about fifteen years ago. Friends were getting married, and
they had everything they wanted. They sent out invitations with
a request that anyone considering a gift please think about one
of their favorite charities.
itself is fine. Actually, itís one doing wonderful things. Iím
not going to name them for two reasons: (1) Itís not one that
Terry and I personally have strong desires to support. (2) What
happened after that wedding gift.
since we made that donation, we have received numerous requests
for the next donation. E-mails a minimum of two or three times
a year. Roughly the same pace for traditional postal contact.
And all of the requests note that as one of their previous contributors
they would like us to know how important our continued support
come to hate them.
thatís not accurate. Or fair. I donít hate them. As I said a few
moments ago, they are doing wonderful things. But I admit, the
sight of their logo or return address does cause my eyes to roll
and triggers a deep breath of frustration.
donated to them because a friend asked me to make the contribution
rather than purchasing them a wedding gift. Thatís it. If I had
been looking to support any charity of my selecting there are
several others that are delivering services that are very important
to me on an extremely personal level.
yet, the mail keeps arriving. The e-mails keep arriving.
a strange way, it almost feels like a targeted guilt trip. Like
Iím being punished for caring about the wishes of my friends.
There are also times when it almost feels like a line has been
course, this particular organization is also not the only one
reaching out for dollars. We get contacted by quite a few.
donít really blame any of these groups. One of the best places
to look for new donations can be in the direction where donations
arrived previously. We are also, in days gone by and days right
now and likely days in the future, living in a world where fantastic
organizations doing incredible work need as much support from
us as possible. And yes, of course, emotions are an incredible
hot button to push.
I know once told me that these reasons and a few others were why
she tried to make her donations anonymously.
person explained that he and his wife selected the charities that
meant the most to them. Those are the ones they faithfully support.
When request after request from others finally pushed them over
an edge, they drafted a letter which briefly explained that while
they are not deeply familiar with the organizationís work, they
have other groups that resonate with them for specific reasons.
That letter quickly covers ground that says they will not be sending
this group any donations now or in the future and closes by wishing
them well. Whenever they get a request with a posted paid envelope,
that letter goes out. According to his claims, they feel as if
the requests have lightened since its introduction, as if they
are being removed from mailing lists.
have no clue if either of these approaches help. But, in both
situations, it provides a look at an interesting approach. In
a way, both are proactive attempts to still provide specific support
while allowing for ways to improve other situations. And I can
I do make attempts at assisting with fundraising by mentioning
a group to others, I usually try to pass along an additional thought.
Might be the best idea to close with.
those of us that can, supporting worthwhile efforts is an amazingly
important and kind thing to be doing. I would absolutely love
it, and be grateful for it, should you decide to make a contribution
in a direction where I have shined a spotlight. This group, however,
is not alone. The past few years have been difficult on so many,
and tremendous organizations can use our assistance. So, please,
if you can make a donation to the group I am supporting, thatís
wonderful. But even more importantly, Iíd appreciate it if you
paused for a moment to think about causes that mean a great deal
to you. And, if you can offer them some assistance, that would
be wonderful as well.
words are being shared somewhat generically. The sentiment still
applies. Iím never looking to be critical of, or to hamper the
thoroughly wonderful activities of amazing groups. And Iím not
looking for applause and recognition for my support. I just believe
it doesnít have to be a bad thing when I donít.