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Giving on Line

Breadline Africa, one of the charities that I have supported for longest, have recently started to contact me by e-mail. I really ought to be delighted by this development, which means an end to plastic windows in envelopes, coins sellotaped to letters, free pens and unsolicited raffle tickets. Unfortunately, I cannot help wondering what impact this approach is going to have on Breadline Africa’s fundraising efforts. 

I am one of those givers who files appeal letters over a few weeks (minus those who have hacked me off by including the things mentioned above). Then in a burst of Sunday morning activity, I write cheques to those charities who currently attract my interest. Actually, it may be those that I have not given to for a little while. Am I going to do that with e-mails? When I go through my charity file am I going to include those charities that are lurking in my inbox? Possibly, but I already have 2 in there waiting for a response (or not!) 

The good thing is that the on-line Breadline Africa appeals tick all the same boxes that they have always done by post. A clearly targeted request for money to aid a small scale self-help project, requesting a specific, but easily affordable, amount of money. I think that strategy is a winner, and I am pleased that Breadline Africa has not gone away from it. Do I still want to give to this charity. Yes, I do. Will I give them less over the year because they have changed there method. I do not know yet, I just suspect that I might.

In this electronic age, most of us have already given on-line. However, that is usually in response to a specific appeal such as an appeal following a disaster. It has to be the way ahead, but it does change the relationship between charity and giver. Letters get binned, but the delete button is even easier. Perhaps I am just an undisciplined giver who needs to bring his giving into the 21st century? However, if all those things that annoy me in postal appeals disappear how much more difficult is it going to be to decide who I am going to give to? 

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