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THINK OF THE PLANET

On a recent visit to a cash machine at my bank, I was asked to “think of the planet – do not request a receipt”.  This reminder of the perceived perilous state of the environment in which we live prompted me to look again at the charity appeals which I have received since contributing to the Blue Frog website:

Charity Appeals

This is what I have received in the last 8 months and the heap does not include the appeals to which I have responded or “blogged” about. (I am not sure that this picture will appear but it shows a huge pile of mail).

For those readers who are worried about the state of mind of someone who has retained all of this I would simply say that it has always been my intention to try to give proper attention to the appeals which I receive.  But you will see that I have not been very successful in keeping ahead of the game; especially as they continue to arrive daily.  I believe, however, that I can make a few comments which it would be very sensible for some charities to heed.

  • Check your database regularly and do not send the same appeal letter, to the same address, on the same occasion.  I am sure this often happens because of slight variation in the address as recorded; but it should not be difficult to clean up this kind of error.
  • Do not treat regular contributors in the same way as others.  Regular contributors already know something about your charity and do not need the kind of full explanation which often arrives.
  • Don’t send coins.  It is totally unnecessary and we all understand the value of money.  Surely the time spent cellotaping them to the letter could be better used.
  • Always give a donor the opportunity to decline a receipt.  If the bank can do it – so can a charity!  But the important issue here is the saving on postage and handling that would accrue.
  • If you do find that incentives make your mailing more successful; please try to make them universally useful.  I certainly have no use for necklaces.  The gardening gloves which I received recently are much too small!
  • Think very carefully about including half a dozen or more pieces of paper, when one or two would suffice.
  • Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, over package incentives.  A small cardboard box containing a ball point pen is surely over the top!

Readers of my blog will know that I am very sympathetic to the attempts of charities to attract the Public to their cause and will also know that I believe that altruistic endeavour, which is at the heart of charity, is important to our society and I have not yet encountered a charity whose beneficiaries do not arouse my sympathy.  You are all trying to diminish suffering in one way of its many forms and I admire and respect what you do.  But please ensure that what you do has as little impact on the environment as possible.

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