I've Been Thinking: Mail can be a problem

Requests for donations flood columnist's inbox

Something is really bothering me lately – the requests from charitable organizations for donations that I regularly get in the mail.

Today, for example, in our mailbox there were five letters requesting donations addressed to my husband and two addressed to me. In the past we have made contributions to most of the charities that now continue to ask for money on an almost monthly basis. Included in the envelopes with their monetary requests are always address labels, along with possibly notepads, greeting cards, lovely stickers, a small appointment calendar or gift tags. At this point in time, I have enough address labels to last me through at least four lifetimes since texting, emails and still, for us older folks, the telephone are usually the ways to communicate with friends and relatives.

About a month ago I decided to start a list of charities I had contributed to and the date (within a year) that I had made the contribution. The reason for this was so that as new requests for donations continue to come in via mail I could look at my charitable gifts list to see if I had donated to the charity in question recently. It seems that the nearly now constant appeals for contributions began around Christmas when we did make many contributions in answer to the mail requests.

That was then, but this is now. With my list in hand, as new requests come in I check to see if I have given the charity in question a contribution, and if so the date the contribution was made. If something was given within the year, I will definitely not be sending them another contribution, but I will be sending back to the charity their reply envelope with whatever they send me that does not have my name on it. In that way it can possibly be re-sent to someone else and I won’t have to feel guilty for keeping something that involved a cost to them. Beyond these things I also will include in the return envelope the donation form on which I’ve written a note stating that I have made a recent contribution, the date, the amount and that I will not be making any further contributions for at least a year from that date.

What do I do with requests from those charities that have unsuccessfully asked for contributions in the past and new charities that have gotten my name from who knows where? When I get their address labels, notepads, etc.,  do I feel bad if I don’t contribute? Honestly, often I do, especially if it is a charity that I know is doing a very important service. However, no one can give to everything except maybe someone such as Oprah, so often I send these charity’s reply envelopes back with what they might be able to send to someone else instead of a check. But maybe it would be smarter to just put Oprah’s name and address on the donation form. Darn, I don’t know her address.

I’m wondering how many of you have been getting these requests, too.

Carol Kloskowski is a resident of Elburn. Feedback on this column can be sent to editorial@kcchronicle.com.