When making funeral arrangements, it’s common to think of a charity to which the deceased person would like memorial donations to go. It’s a nice way of remembering somebody and lasts longer than flowers. Unfortunately, what also lasts longer than flowers, even perhaps the benefit of your donation itself, are the solicitations in the mail that you will continue to receive from the deceased person’s charity of choice.
I’ve always thought that, at the very least, dying should mean that people can raise money for a charity or cause meaningful to them. They’re who died, not me. If I want to contribute to things I care about, I should do that off my own bat. However, I’m starting to see a benefit to the requests for “a donation to the charity of your choice”: I’m already on the mailing list.
Give at a funeral to a charity that you don’t usually support, and you’ll be getting letters, address labels and notepads for the rest of your life, asking that you “once again” show your generosity. I want to tell them – it wasn’t your cause I was being generous toward. I gave in memory of my friend or relative. Take me off your list!
Why should memorial donations even make it to the mailing list? These donations are receipted by the organization as being “in memory of” so they know why you gave. If they wanted to save postage and goodwill, it might be wise to not include you on their mailing list.
And how do charities that you’ve never donated to – for yourself, from door-to-door canvassers or at funerals – get you on their list? I can only assume that they bought a mailing list that had my name on it. And that had to be from an organization I donated to a funeral. The groups I donate to do not send mass mailings or share mailing lists.
This crowd – in the photograph – I don’t recall ever giving so much as a nickel. Now, they’ve sent me a nickel in hopes I’ll add to it and write them a cheque. Nope. But at least it partially compensated me for my time shredding the letter with my name printed throughout it. And also ripping the plastic window out of the envelope so that it can be recycled. That’s more than you get from a lot of them. And I’ve got these nice address labels that I didn’t ask for. I’ll just put them with the 20 other sheets I’ve received from organizations that I will never donate to again. Because I am trying, by playing dead, to get myself off their mailing lists.