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Folks --

-- Fear not. Each of the organizatoins we're raising funds for has signed an agreement with us -- and among other things, they are bound to NOT sell your names and addresses to anyone. (And for all I know, perhaps none of them would have, anyway.)

-- Someone asked how we would know if an organization was abusing its list of Fool donors, sending them too much. Well, for one thing, if you glance at the Ship of Fools page, you'll see that a heck of a lot of TMF Fools donate to these organizations. (I gave a little to each, myself.) Many who aren't on the list give, as well, mailing in checks, or giving at the last minute.) So we're like you -- we receive the mailings they send. we see how they treat their donors. If an organization drives us nuts with mailings (or in any other way), we certainly take that into account during the next year's selection deliberations.

-- Regarding the idea of adding an opt-out box, where donors can ask to not receive materials beyond an e-mailed thank you/receipt. That's a worthy idea, one we'll consider for next year's drive. Some of you may have noticed that we do keep improving the drive each year. This year, for example:
.....we have a main page total donation counter/odometer
.....we've made it easier for those outside the US to donate
.....we've set things up so that you can donate to more than one organiation at a time via credit card. You can give to all five in one transaction instead of five.
.....we added a photo to each charity description page
.....we resurrected the Ship of fools page
.....we've set up a sysem that permits you to have gift-given-in-honor-of-you emails sent to your honorees

-- One last thing to remember is that we ask a lot of these organizations when we select them for our drive. sure, they're incredibly thrilled and honored. But it also means a LOT of work from them, right in the middle of the holidays and their busiest season. Remember that some of these organizations don't have unlimited labor/employees/volunteers. Lst year, for example, we supported Foodchain and it had just three or four people working at its HQ. They pulled some all-nighters entering information from credit card donors so that acknowledgments could be sent out on time. They weren't the only one of our supportees to have to do that. I just wanted to point out that we have to be cognizant of how much we ask of these organizations.

-- Lastly, permit me to thank the folks who are posting positive notes. All negative posts or questions are certainly welcome here, of course. It's good and Foolish of anyone to examine where their money is going. But I'm happy to see some positive posts in here, as well, as it would be depressing during the height of our big drive to only be dealing with criticisms.

On that note, happy holidays!

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