Service of How to Discourage Me From Opening My Checkbook for Your Charity

February 11th, 2021

Categories: Charity, Mistakes, Sloppy

Photo: thelifeyoucansave.com

I’ve covered charity here 28 times. Today I’m writing about how an organization that might seek my support can turn me off.

Each bullet refers to a bone I’ve picked with a different organization.

I would ask a charity to please:

  • charitynavigator.org

    Respond to my request to delete my deceased husband’s name from their database especially when I’ve included a donation with the change of name information. This isn’t a tiny, struggling organization but a gargantuan one that mails printed pitches every quarter. My mother had the same issue with a different organization deaf to her similar requests in the mid-1980s and eventually she stopped donating. Clearly topnotch computer programs haven’t helped.

  • Improve your profile on charitynavigator.com. Don’t pay your chief executive officer over $700,000 and spend 25 percent of your budget on marketing. I missed a bullet when I checked out this well known organization that dealt with a friend’s interest. It was to be his birthday gift.
  • Allow me, on your website donation form, to dedicate a donation either in celebration of or in memory of a friend or relative.
  • Confirm that you have notified the friend or family member I’ve asked you to alert that a donation was made in their or their loved one’s name.  So many people don’t acknowledge gifts and it’s awkward to ask if they’ve been informed.

Have you encountered irritations when selecting or dealing with a charity? Which are your favorites?

Photo: canadahelps.org

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12 Responses to “Service of How to Discourage Me From Opening My Checkbook for Your Charity”

  1. Hank Goldman Said:

    I used to donate to many charities that I believed in… But then it becomes a game of them just wanting to raise money and, as you said, raise the CEOs salary!

  2. EAM Said:

    Erica on Facebook wrote: My alma mater [many years ago] had a telemarketer call for donations instead of a student or administrator. I was appalled.

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hank,

    As one of my doctors once said, “be careful where you donate if you are supporting an organization that represents a disease because you may be paying for a CEO’s Oriental rug or a physician’s trip to Hawaii for an industry event.” Thank goodness for Charity Navigator.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    EAM,

    And I bet that telemarketer got a nice chunk of the money raised. My husband balked at a fundraiser for a school–he was on the board of trustees–who was paid in the low six figures and who brought in from the deep pockets that amount. She went to the likely suspects who would have supported the school without her. Rip off.

  5. Anonymous Said:

    My former employer was a big sponsor of a major umbrella charity organization until it was revealed that the head of the organization had indulged in a variety of perks at contributors’ expense. Contributions from staff and payroll deductions plummeted and a special all-staff meeting with the new leader was convened to little avail. Not sure the charity recovered from the bad press.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anonymous,

    And then there are those who do sleazy things using as a front the so-called foundations they form to fleece.

  7. Lucrezia Said:

    My main focus is on wildlife and feeding and/or sheltering the homeless and the hungry. It’s what I like about a given organization, and how it approaches its goals that motivates a gift. I tend to avoid charities that send money, since the coins should be going to benefit the needy. It’s a pass on the “free” gift, since someone is probably backing that expenditure. One exception is the Harry S. Truman Memorial Library, which is in sore need of repair. The drive has the backing of his grandson, and exceptions may be made when the family is involved.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I am shameless in that I use return address labels sent me and I don’t send money in return. They are mostly printed and mailed by well funded charities that are in the category my doctor warned me about, that I referred to in my response to Hank Goldman above.

    Unlike today’s former presidents or their wives who bring in $50,000 to $100,000+ a speech and $millions for book contracts, President Truman did not have this benefit and no doubt he didn’t leave a big estate as a result. Thank you for pointing out the sad situation about his library.

  9. JBS Said:

    I donate to a select few. I’m narrowing it down, based on your criteria. (Re. your husband as recipient of a fundraising pitch, I always signed the checks. You’d think they would give me some credit!)

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JBS,

    I find that as I respond to requests “in lieu of flowers, please donate to _____” I end up sending to charities I’ve never before heard of. But when I am able to donate, especially now, I, like Lucrezia above, focus on food banks and food distributing charities like Gods Love We Deliver. I also like the NY Public Library that has such an amazing e-book library a saving grace during the pandemic.

  11. MarthaTakayama Said:

    I am like you Jeanne, shamelessly using some of the excess labels sent in multipage solicitations usually from some of the world’s greatest hospitals. I am sure that they fit into the category your doctor and Hank Goldman mention. I also ignore organizations that send greeting cards and coins.
    The worst non-charitable charity experience I have had was from a charity which requested assistance for orphans abroad. My mother had sponsored a child from that agency, had received a picture and even a handwritten note and I kept up the payments for a while after her death. I was shocked after some time had passed with a request from the same charity which offered the same photo and a note from the same child!

  12. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    I am shocked but not surprised by that horrendous example you gave of the charity that sent everyone the photo of the same child. One wonders if they were sharing the money with the children at all.

    I used to get solicitations with a few coins or cards. They did not inspire me to give a cent and I didn’t care for the cards [which sounds so snobby].

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