Saturday, November 18, 2006

giving again

It's the charitable time of year again. For us webhounds, donation is so much easier when charities have a site and a method of online payment. It took less than 10 minutes to take care of my two favorite agencies, Grameen Foundation and Samaritan House.

Grameen specializes in micro-loans to individuals in third world countries. Samaritan House is a local that provides various types of assistance and medical care to people in San Mateo county.

I like charities that don't waste a lot of money telling me what a great job they do while simultaneously asking for more. Grameen sends stuff maybe four times a year; Samaritan House twice. Years ago when I had less money to spare for charity I gave a small amount to Doctors Without Borders, Sierra Club, and CARE. In response they deluged my mailbox with beg-letters twice a month, and sold my name to other charities.

Before a year was out CARE's mailed brochures had pretty much used up what I had given, and over the next 3 years I got stuff from about 25 charities I'd never heard of. I wrote to CARE asking them for an envelope once a year because that's how often I was going to give. They ignored this and began phoning in addition to mailing. I asked them to take me off their phone list and mailing list. It took almost a year before the phone calls stopped. They use every trick in the book, from post-it notes that appear handwritten but aren't, to "personal" notes from the president of CARE. It's all bullshit, and I don't tolerate bullshit.

The only thing that really gets you removed from their list is not donating. I still get the occasional thing from CARE but I am not about get myself subjected to the deluge again.

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