Sometimes our own smarty pants behaviour comes back to haunt us – having returned numerous envelopes containing gifts and ‘freebies’ to the places from whence they came, I now seem to be getting phone calls inviting me to part with ‘donations’ by way of raffles and other means. I’d rather have the mail-outs except that the waste of donated money annoys me – severely.
I seem to have little piles of envelopes all over the house waiting for me to deal with. The pile that is presently in front of me contain appeals from:
- Seeing Eye Dogs
- Hunter Medical Research Institute
- International Fund for Animal Welfare (free gift enclosed)
- Autism Spectrum (very firm and fat cardboard envelope that had GrandPa Flea queueing in the post office to collect – he was not amused)
- Vision Australia (see above – also fat and firm envelope to be queued for – again not amused)
- World Wildlife Fund (also fat envelope but soft so delivered)
- Children’s Cancer Institute (fat, firm envelope but delivered)
These are in addition to the charities that we currently support. I might have mentioned this in the last post, but the Garvan Institute, which we support, asks its donors how many appeals they would like to receive each year. I’ve nominated twice a year and apart from the newsletter, that is what I receive. I wish other charities would take note – no wasted paper, no heart string tugging letters with my name mail merged throughout, no spending of donated funds on address labels, cards, pens, glasses cleaning cloths and shopping bags.
I’d like to know how much money is spent on ‘free gifts’ and the postage for same, by the not for profit sector, and the amount of difference it makes to their fund-raising effort when their costs are taken out.
The phone callers are destined to disappointment – I do not give money and personal details over the phone any more. I feel for the callers as they are just trying to make a living. I am always polite but am amazed by how many just hang up in my ear when they realise they will not make a commission on that call. I assume the particular charities involved don’t know that their reputation is being tarnished by that action.
I also rarely give donations at the door – for similar reasons to my no phone donations policy. The callers may have ID but I am becoming less inclined to trust as I grow older.
The other day I did make an exception for the collectors for money for the Special Olympics. I am very fond of a young lady who has benefitted from her participation in the Special Olympics and I had decided that, despite my policy, I would give a donation as I hadn’t noticed the appeal advertised anywhere.
The young woman then did her spiel about Coles sponsoring the appeal including the fact that donors would receive vouchers to the value of their donation to be used at Coles Express. The donation options were $10, $50, up to $1,000. These vouchers are like the cards, pens, notepads etc that accompany mail appeals – of no interest to me. Later in the day when I looked at the receipt I was very surprised to read that the donation was not what it appeared to be – I hadn’t made a donation at all – I had purchased vouchers to that value.
It was a very slick marketing ploy and Coles’ “sponsorship” would, I imagine, cost them very little. The vouchers had to be used within a few weeks and were limited to two a day. I would hazard a guess that the majority would never be redeemed – mine certainly won’t be. In truth, it made me have a bit of a giggle – I wondered how many people who patronise Coles Express had fallen for the ploy and had made a large donation – they would be hard pressed to spend several hundred dollars in the time allowed with the restrictions placed on the purchases.
I can’t recall if the young woman used the word ‘donation’ to me – but it was certainly implied. The receipt made it very clear as it stated that receipt was not to be used for tax purposes as goods had been received for the payment.
I’m afraid that this has made me even more hard-line about which charities I’ll support and how I will give those donations. The whole thing had a Tony Abbott ring about it – do you remember when, after he became PM, he made one of his statements that the electorate only thought that one particular promise had been made when it hadn’t. Weasel words.
Does anyone else out there feel harried and harassed by the numerous appeals to their generosity?