Knowledge is power – esp. with charitable requests


Recently I got a call from a charity that I really believe in and like to support. The charity’s representative was a polite, smart + articulate woman, called “Monika”, which was great because one of the main reasons I like and believe in this charity is that the woman who set up and runs this charity is so brilliant + dynamic. The purpose of the call was two-fold; to ask me to give more and to do so monthly. Monika began by telling me that the charity appreciates my generosity because it’s the larger donations that enable them to do more than keep their doors open doing the basic tactical stuff. And obviously, monthly donations are a big help when it comes to estimating cash flow and how much they can spend on overhead, the basic programs and their more ambitious projects. 

I thanked Monika for her perspective and then shared mine.

I get about 7 – 12 direct mail donation requests each week: about 300 – 600/year.

I toss them all. Three times a year, April, August + December, I make donations to the ones that I support. My annual income determines how much I give to each one each year. Being inundated by weekly requests to give (more) to a specific charity pisses me off. Instead of giving more to them, I give less – and less – and finally nothing. Getting follow-up phone calls and e-mails (with no e-permission) also makes me give LESS.

I encouraged Monika to take a this message back to the charity’s marketing managers + the brilliant charity’s director. 

Stop revolving your data base – grow it instead! Here’s how.

Send out a short letter. (example) 

“Dear Monika, thank-you for your generous donations. Larger donations like yours enable us to ramp up for the good fight that makes XYZ possible it today’s tough world.

We’d like to invite you to go to our website at and answer these four questions simple questions. 

1. The best way to reach out to you:  [  ] Don’t   [  ] D.M.  [  ]  Email  [  ]  Phone

2. The best way for you to donate:    [  ] Annually  [  ]  Monthly  [  ]  Other

3.  Other ways you might want to help:  [  ]  Time  [  ]  Used chattels  [  ]  Other

4.  Would you like to receive our monthly newsletter:  [  ]  e-mail  [  ]   snail-mail  [  ]  Neither." 


Print “4-question survey enclosed” on the envelop.

A short survey like this will help the organization’s marketing team make far better strategic + tactical use of their scarce resources.