18 December 2011

Grumpy holiday guidance to fundraisers

I've been known to make donations to organizations or causes whose goals and efforts I support.  Sometimes, though, I have second thoughts about doing so, given some of the responses that well-intentioned generosity has engendered.  I don't know whether or how my reactions may be unusual, but doubt they're unique. In this year-end season, I thought I'd frame some of these concerns as if in an open letter to keepers of worthy causes, suggesting means that could make those causes more amenable to support.  Here goes.

Don't call me on the phone.  This is unlikely to achieve a positive result, no matter what time of day or how enthusiastic I may be about the cause involved.

"Annual" means once a year.  Attempts to solicit contributions described as being annual on a more frequent basis are likely to be recognized and rejected.

Thanks and requests don't mix well. A response to acknowledge a contribution is appreciated.  If combined with an additional solicitation, however, that leaves at least this recipient thinking that the original donation wasn't deemed and welcomed as sufficient.

A prior gift represents a likely midpoint for its successor range. Please respect and value the amount that a donor has decided to offer, and the fact that subsequent gifts may vary either above or below it for any number of reasons.  Please refrain from proposing specific desired amounts, or scales that lead only upward from a prior value.

Time-limited pledge drives are counter-motivating.  I hope and expect that a contribution made outside a particular advertised window can still be useful and appreciated, and am unlikely to be motivated by the end of a calendar or fiscal year, by an ephemeral matching offer, or by interruptions to broadcast programming.  In fact, I'm sufficiently contrarian so as to be more likely to make donations outside such designated cycles.

Thanks for reading.

No comments:

Post a Comment