Too many people are asking for too many donations from too many citizens with too little income. Above my article is a picture of the pile of letters asking for donations which I have received in January and February. All of these requests represent worthy causes, causes I would be happy to make a donation to if I could. What is so disheartening is how few organizations I can actually afford to make donations to.
All it takes to get on someone’s mailing list is to give to any affiliated group, and the connections between groups are almost impossible to trace. If you give a few dollars to a few political action groups, you are suddenly swamped by anyone with even the most tenuous relationship to the Party of your choice.
Giving dollars to charities also causes your mailbox to bulge with letters, envelopes, free things like address labels, fancy stationery, free book marks, pens, nickels, dimes, not just once a year but every month, over and over again. No one ever sends us money. Beyond these inexpensive freebees there are no surprises.
One advantage of this deluge is that, hopefully, it helps keep the post office in business. I haven’t heard people threatening lately to close down the US Postal Service, although they might just be waiting until after the election to continue the campaign to close up an American institution that people actually like.
The sheer bulk of the mail perhaps has the added advantage of producing more than enough donation money to offset all that is spent on the packets to solicit the donations.
I have trouble throwing this mail away. I set it aside thinking that perhaps I will be able to squeeze out of my budget a small donation for each group, until several months go by and I reluctantly toss the lot. I am just venting and sharing the guilt I feel about being unable to contribute and yet harvesting those address labels and nickels and dimes. I have invented a new rationalization. When I use those address labels it is as if I am advertising for the group that sent them. Should we feel guilty about accepting a totally unsolicited free gift? Probably not, but I believe we receive the free gift so that we will feel guilty enough about keeping it to make a donation.
Please accept my apologies for not answering all your pleas. Keep the mail coming because I might be more affluent one day, and because of the post office thing.
By Nancy Brisson