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Author: TMFSelena Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5550  
Subject: some responses... Date: 12/21/2000 9:32 AM
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-- First -- the Chronicle of Philanthropy is a periodical. You can find it here:
http://philanthropy.com/

-- Next, while I appreciae Deannda's concern, I also concur with Jeff's responses. I myself have stopped giving to two particular organizations that sent me LOTs of expensive mail way too frequently -- calendars, bookmarks, note cards, mailing labels, brochures, etc. To me, that did add up to a lot of waste. But I myself don't have a problem with one mailing, or infrequent mailings, from organizations. I figure that they want me to know more about them and understand their work, in the hope that I'll continue giving to them. That seems reasonable.

-- Also, FWIW, part of the issue might be that we asked the organizations to send out receipts within about a month of each Fool donation. So waiting for their next scheduled bulk mail might be a problem. Were we wrong to ask this? Perhaps. It's certainly worth thinking about. Our reasoning, though, was that we wanted t make sure that Fools were reassured relaively quickly that their money did reach the organizations. (And for all I know, perhaps each oganization would have send receipts pronto anyway.)

-- BenMoyle asked about those charities which have said they'd contribute 100% of Fool money to certain projects. He made a very good point that if none of our money goes to overhead then the overhead will come out of others' donations. True. We didn't require any organization to make such offers, but some did. (I think that for us, Grameen just reduced its overhead spending %.) I suppose that in some cases, to some degree, it might result in others paying for the overhead that our dollars generate. But remember that there are fixed and variable overhead costs. They won't need to buy more lightbulbs for their offices because of our donations. But perhaps they'll need to spend a little more on some aspects of their administration. Also, for some of them, the money is a big blessing that doesn't necessarily take that much from overhead. Perhaps, for example, with Lifewater, they really needed a ot of machinery and equipment. Perhaps our money will buy that equipment. Anyway -- it was a point wel taken. And makes me think that perhaps next year we'll revisit that issue.

-- Deannda says: "They will not be getting a "repeat" gift from me because of the extravagance of the thank you note. It was not necessary for all that information. I got all the information I needed from the Fool." To this, I just mention that not everyone gets all the info they need from our website or even a charity's website. Some people do find paper brochures/newsletters useful. They might even pass them along to friends.

-- And finally, she noted: "Now maybe $8,800 isn't much to an organization like Grameen, but it is to me and it's money I feel that could be used for the original cause." Fair enough. But again, there are small donors and large donors. You used 10,000 donors in your example. Let's say they each gave $25. If so, then $250,000 was raised and for each donor, 3.5% of the gift, 88 cents, went to the $1.21 mailing (over and aboce the cost of a 33 cent acknowledgment). But the reality is that I think our drive's gifts perhaps average $50 or more each (because we have a modest number of really big givers). So it's more like an average of 1.8% of the average gift went to the excess postage. Again, not huge numbers. If we call the average gift size $75, it gets smaller still. I know that if you give a modest gift (and every gift couts!), it can be frustrating to think of the material and mailing costs. But remember that we've got a LOT of people donating $100 or $200 or $1000 to these charities.

Anyway... submitted for what it's worth... :)

Selena
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