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09 August 2010


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I'm one of the guys quoted in that piece. I, like you, was hoping that the lead would be that sending coins works. But I was at least glad they had multiple (OK, two) non-profits who use them in the piece and I thought the quote from Melissa Brown at the Center on Philanthropy was a good one.

On the whole, it wasn't as good as I'd hoped nor as bad as I'd feared.

Jeff, I came across your post after reading the article you mention.

As someone who takes charitable giving seriously, sending me coins and sending me requests for money using priority mail are things which make me withdraw my support for an organization. You argue that this works, but I seriously question that. You may get an increase in donations from that particular mailing, but if you piss off medium-sized and major donors who are dedicated to supporting charities long-term and find these antics annoying and wasteful, did you really gain or did you lose overall? Are people simply comparing the donations that come in from the nickel vs. non-nickel batch, or do those calculations include the loss from serious donors who withdraw their long-term support? And are those donations smaller donations compared to what serious donors give? Smaller donations take longer to process--is the cost of that processing included in the calculation? (If you have links to articles or papers on this, please post them--I would be interested in knowing the answers to these questions.)

As for asking to reduce mail, I do that--I ask to get one mailing a year. I also try to send larger checks less frequently to cut down on the time and money spent processing the donation and the thank you letter. Apparently, though, some organizations won't respect that request. Sending me money is the last straw for them.

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JeffJeff Brooks, creative director at TrueSense Marketing, has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 20 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you'll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff.brooks [at] truesense [dot] com. More.

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