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You wrote:
"I don't want a thank you, I want to know my money is going to work for the great cause, not thank you letters, pretty brouchures and postage."


I appreciate your concern. I also hate waste, but when I take a step back and see the big picture, I do not see this as waste. Each of these charities most likely get thousands of donations, and if they didn't say "thank you" to each one, they would soon be cast as ungrateful. So they DO say "thanks" AND at the same time, they provide more information to persons who they already know are at least interested enough in them to make a one-time initial gift. This is two-for-one approach is cheaper, and it is analogous to targeted marketing. It is a good strategy that can result in REPEAT donations.

All charities are in the business of obtaining funding. Sending mail to people who are already interested (i.e., those who have already donated) is more effective than sending it out unsolicited. It also makes sense to say "thanks" for donations, and to not discriminate between small and large gifts.

Now, the most efficient, cost-effective "thank-you" note is a "one-size-fits-all" note. The organization needs to think in terms of "thousands" of donors, and it would cost MORE for them to individually evaluate each donation and appraise what type of "thank-you" to send. In fact, with very large numbers of donors, the persons who see donations and the persons who process "thank-you's" can sometimes be in completely different ends of the building.

I realize that, to the individual very small donor, $1.21 can seem like a lot. But consider if the average donor gave even just $15, then the organization is--on average--receiving $13.79 for their $1.21 investment. That is extremely cheap "advertising" costs. Perhaps an analogy would be useful. If the typical person went into a banquet hall kitchen after an event and saw the huge cans filled with wasted food there, it would probably shock and discourage this person. But he/she would then need to remember that this is the "waste" collected from many people, so the average "waste" is actually quite small. The "bottle-neck" effect of seeing it all in one place makes it seem much larger.

As I said above, a large organization would probably need to spend MORE dollars to hire people to manually decide what type of thank-you note to send to each donor than they would spend on a "one-size-fits-all" average approach. (The one-size approach is also most likely computerized and automated to save even more money). When you step back and get the big picture, $1.21 is actually probably a very cost-effective investment (particularly if even one-in-ten "thank-you" notes results in a REPEAT gift).

I hope this helps.

Jeff Bjorck
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