Service of Passing the Buck at a Charity

March 27th, 2023

Categories: Charity, Donations, Fundraising, Lazy


Image by Joseph V M from Pixabay

We submitted a large online donation to a major charity that involved sending an email thank you note to the person who made the contribution possible. There was a clearly marked slot for that. I wrote a note and provided the person’s email address.

He never received it.

When I followed up in an email the charity’s rep responded that the note goes out automatically and immediately—which I knew that it did in theory—and that it’s not the charity that does it–their vendor does. Sorry, she wrote, but they couldn’t retrieve the note.

I replied that all they had to do was to ask the vendor for it, which I expected her to do. I would have asked for that outcome had the donation been $5 or $10.

On the other hand, the responsiveness by a teensy charity about on online glitch–a onetime donation was stuck in the monthly category–was quick and helpful.

I’ve traditionally sent a check with a cover note listing the ways to contact the person to whom I want the charity to send an acknowledgement. I want them to know I’ve honored their beloved departed. But even doing it the old fashioned way I never know if the charity sends anything. Given that most people don’t thank, and if the donation comes at a time of grief and upset, the recipient might mean to but doesn’t.

I am beginning to lose my enthusiasm for this way of remembering or honoring a loved one.

The person in my first example is close enough to me that I asked him if he’d heard from the charity. Most times I would be uncomfortable doing that. And you? Do you trust that a charity will follow your instructions? Do only the $1million + donors get appropriate attention without being pushed?


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

5 Responses to “Service of Passing the Buck at a Charity”

  1. TC Said:

    JEANNE,

    YOU POINT TO A REAL PROBLEM—NEGLECT TO ACKNOWLEDGE A GIFT. TRADITIONALLY, A TEENAGE “DISEASE” WHICH EVERY PARENT CAN RECALL REPEATEDLY SAYING “DID YOU WRITE UNCLE/AUNT A THANK YOU”?. GIFTS TO NON-PROFITS REQUIRE A RESPONSE “FOR TAX PURPOSES”. GIFTS IN SOMEONE’S NAME NOW FALLING BETWEEN THE CRACKS WITH NOONE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY. WITH NO RETURN, FEELS LIKE “THROWING GOLF BALLS INTO A PILLOW” AS MY DAD USED TO SAY. SO WHY GIVE!!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    TC,

    I must remember that expression! When I read it I almost heard the thud of the ball dropping into a pile of covered feathers.

    I imagine my usually small donations don’t matter to a charity although if everyone gave a small amount I suppose the fundraisers would be happy. I wonder whether they have found–unrelated to the economy or natural disasters that divert funds they might expect–that fewer people donate in memory of others.

  3. lucrezia Said:

    There are many conscientious charities who acknowledge, and send a note to a designated party, when warranted, so why bother with those who don’t? No sense wasting one’s breath. Best procedure is to stop giving in hopes that one day it gets the message.

  4. Martha Takayama Said:

    I am cynical about acknowledgments for electronic donations or contributions. I do think modest ones often fall between the cracks. I am actually cynical about electronic solicitations. I don’t know quite how to feel about contributing in this fashion, but have followed up on my own out of concern that the intended party would not receive the information. Everything presently is so distanced from its original purpose or any sense of personal interaction that I don’t know what to think. I definitely do get an unpleasant reaction to hyper publicity for donations by those considered important. Let’s remember the history of the Yankee Family’s disgraceful behavior. I guess all their donations are supposed to have made up for it!

  5. Martha T Takayama Said:

    My reference is to the YAWKEY Family of Red Sox, hospital building and ethnic and racial prejudice fame.

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