Tuesday, April 16, 2013


The US Post Office wanted to eliminate Saturday regular mail deliveries.  I was totally in favor of that, but for a very selfish reason.  On the average, I receive 2.5 solicitations per day from various so-called charitable organizations.  That means I throw away (to our land-fill) an average of 2.5 pieces of junk mail.  Eliminating Saturday deliveries  would mean I have to do this only 5 days per week, although the Monday cache would be double.  That's a small price to pay in order to help the Postal Service save a little money.  On occasion I can give the Postal Service a little business.  Whenever some so-called charity sends me a pitiful plea for money, and includes a postage-paid envelope, I immediately mail back to them all the paper they sent me, with a note to put this in their land-fill.

I am retired US Navy, a veteran. I found out that once you give money to one veterans' organization, you are immediately besieged with pleas from dozens of other so-called veterans' groups.  I found, to my amazement, there are groups supposedly helping Paralyzed Veterans, Deaf Veterans, Blind Veterans, Wounded Veterans, Homesick Veterans, Unhappy Veterans, Out-of-work Veterans and probably many others. Using a program such as Charity Navigator, it is easy to check these groups.  There you will find that most of these spend 65-75% of their total revenue on fund raising. These groups don't do their own fund-raising.  They contract with one of the big national companies that do this to make money.  So the charity spends some 15-20% of total revenue on their programs.  When you give a donation to these groups, you are not supporting some veterans group.  You are helping a big fund raising company make money.

Another interesting thing that Charity Navigator will show you is the salaries paid to the officers of these groups. Apparently this is a nice way to make a living.  Even more interesting are the "family groups."  I found one where the Board of Directors consisted on a Mother, her two sons and her daughter-in-law. This isn't a charity, it's a family business!

I recently received a pitiful plea from an American-Indian school in South Dakota.  How did these people got my name and address?  Easy!  These big fund raising organizations consider your name and address to be common property, to be used wherever they want to use it. If you would like to see proof of this, give a small donation to some obscure group, but use a fictitious first name.  I like to use Alphonso.  Then sit back and keep count of how many pleas come addressed to that name.

Annually I give a substantial amount to legitimate charities, but I do this at the end of the year. I just have to put up with the constant barrage of pleas during the year.  One of the worst culprits is the Salvation Army.  Last year I kept a count, and realized I received 18 pleas during that year, that's 1.5 per month. Maybe if they didn't spend so much on fund-raising, they would have more for their programs.

Are any of these scams? Yes, Charity Navigator has reported a couple that could be so considered.

Support local charities.  That way, you can have some indication of how your money was used.

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