Sunday, March 2, 2008

The 17% Solution

I read something interesting this morning when I should have been getting ready for church, Let the Rich Man Go. It was the inspiration for the following, and it was also the first time I commented on someone's blog. I think it's a blog. I found it because I subscribed to some RSS feeds and there was a link there to this blog...article...thingy. I'm learning. And since the whole commenting thing is new to me, be nice.

Here is my 17% worth.

I sent an e-mail last night asking to be removed from a well known charitable organization's mailing list while offering a suggestion to them.

We started a new tradition at Christmas time a couple of years ago with El,Mo. We give them a certain amount of money to give to whomever they choose, instead of buying each other lots of stuff. We still give gifts, just cheaper ones. And fewer. El chose _____ this past year. I made an online donation. We didn't get the 'free' gift that went with the donation, because that would actually mean a lower net donation would go to the organization. And more stuff. I liked it that we could opt out of the 'free' gift as I made the donation. El was fine with that after I explained it, but she did kind of want the 'free' gift...

Since then, we have received at least two mailings requesting another donation. Here is my problem with that practice. We were not on their mailing list before the donation, and as far as I am concerned, it was probably a one time thing. When I give $__, I want that amount to go to the cause. Their latest mailing informs that in 2006, "83% of all gifts and donations to _____ goes directly to our vital programs". The pie chart shows that 83% was Program Related Expenses, while the smaller piece of the pie went to Administrative and Fundraising Expenses. That may just be a fabulous percentage; I don't know because I haven't compared them with others.

The fact remains that if 17% of my donation is for Administrative and Fundraising Expenses, that is either salaries, free gifts, mailings, advertising or other operating expenses that I haven't considered. How much of 17% is for mailings? Probably not much, but I don't want to receive the mailings. Valuable resources are being wasted.

__% of 17% of my donation is being thrown in the trash.

Here was my suggestion. Let people opt out of mailings when they make a donation, just like they can opt out of the 'free' gift. I'm calling it The 17% Solution. Maybe you know of an organization that needs to hear about it.

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