Of late, not a week goes by that Husband and I do not receive numerous mail solicitations from charitable organizations. This in and of itself is not troublesome. What gives me pause is that several months ago, after the Gulf oil spill, we donated to a few respectable organizations that do good, important work in the world. And then we were sold.
I realize that selling donor information is a viable source of income for some organizations. The buyers are likely from causes in a similar vein of interest, so it makes sense to buy the names and cold contact the people. What bothers me is the volume that we receive; I would estimate at least five pieces of solicitous mail per week, if not more, often intermittently from the same organizations over and over again. And it is the "over and over again" that really has started to get under my skin.
The amount of our original donation has surely been doubled, tripled, possibly even quadrupled by the cost of all of these organizations' mailing pieces. I am certain that our money has done no good but to buy reams and reams of paper and many gallons of fuel in order to solicit more donations (so that more mail may be sent?).
Donating to charitable organizations is important. Everyone should give what they can. But it is also good to have a plan in place, laying out the organizations that you support. For me, all the cold solicitations create is more recycling.
So, Smile Train (for example), I absolutely admire the work that you do. You make disfigured children whole again, most certainly bettering their future social and professional lives. But I fear that if I send you my pennies, you will only use them to print more leaflets with weeping children.