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Anderson: Charities must not have a high regard of their donors

Anderson: Charities must not have a high regard of their donors

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The culture of giving has changed. Some aspects of donation requests have become extremely aggravating.

One noticeable transformation is their method of writing request letters. Not only do they have to include a multi-page missive, but each one or two sentences occupies its own paragraph. Perhaps they believe it makes the request more impressive if it’s accompanied by a lengthy convincing us of why we need to give. Does additional white space and numerous paragraphs make us lean more toward persuasion?

This is most irritating. Very rarely do I read more than the first section. It’s all just too obvious, and my time is valuable. Anyway, most likely it’s an organization that we’ve supported for a while. I know what it’s about.

Maybe I do need convincing if it’s a new charity vying for my dollar, but I still don’t want to read a book to make a decision.

Is it just me, or should the purpose of each organization be obvious? Usually, the title of the group indicates why they are in business. If the name of the business does not point directly to its mission, IMHO they haven’t put forth the right image.

If it’s a heart association, the title should be succinct and their icon obvious. An organization that helps children – if for education, let its name be evidence of its function. The name and symbol of a charity that feeds a segment of our society should be clear. Maybe I’m just fussy, but this makes sense.

Another aggravation is those requests that promise a reward in return for my donation. Maybe that kind of incentive will sway more donors, but it seems silly to me. They could be realizing more income if they didn’t purchase giveaways – and pay postage to send them.

I currently have three such requests offering a magazine subscription or a tote, a blanket and yet another tote.

Another request offered me a choice between a canvas bag (say “tote”) and a T-shirt. I need neither, and the offer doesn’t make me any more inclined to give.

My closet is brimming with T-shirts, testimony to vacations as well as connection to organizations. All are purchases I made voluntarily to remember or to support. None were purchased out of guilt. The nickel included in another request was intended to prick my conscience to return it with funding.

The are some incentives that make sense, though they’re still not tempting. For instance, public television often has fund-raising events. They’ll offer CDs of popular programs. They’re tapping into the interests of their viewers. Smart.

Is there an approach that would reach me, make me convinced to support a new charity? Well, there isn’t one. My support goes to organizations that have impacted my life and touched my heart. Cancer research. Heart health. Food for the hungry.

It wouldn’t make a difference if they’d offer me the moon. It would just aggravate me when I think about the postage they’d have to pay to send it to me!

Susan Anderson lives in Opelika with her husband. Contact her at

Susan Anderson lives in Opelika with her husband. Contact her at


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