I wanted to do my part, help some like-minded folks, make a contribution beyond my verbiage. So, I donated (not large amounts) to various do-gooding organizations – a few of a similarly enlightened political mindset, a few just plain good people helping people in need.
I felt righteous.
Then, often before receiving a membership notification or the magazine in question, the solicitations started arriving. These good folks and those to whom they sold my data started bombarding my mail box with requests for more, always more money.
Organizations I joined late in the year began sending renewal notices as soon as the new year arrived – when I figured I had about 10 months of membership remaining.
I was heartened when one group promised that it would not be bombarding me with solicitations all year. The next month I got a renewal notice, five months into my membership. And I heard from them again a few weeks later.
Journals, where you might think a simple subscription would be suffice, also have foundations and auxiliaries that could use monetary infusions.
This is an improvement over the once-reputable magazine that offered me a pretty good deal on a subscription but then billed me later for a “delivery cost” that was hidden in the fine print. I know, logic says that, if you’ve subscribed to a magazine, you might expect delivery. Not so.
I thought about telling the magazine to just leave my copies stacked on a table by their front door, and I would pick them up later. But, I realized that I’d probably be slapped with a storage fee.
One fine group – and they really do good work – couldn’t get me enrolled, but kept begging for my membership.
Another national heavyweight sent me my complimentary gift but never a bill. I called them twice. Finally, I got a tacky notice accusing me of being a deadbeat. I called the home office – not the mail order subscription service – and the person I talked to had no knowledge of the alleged “official” with the fancy title whose name was on the accusatory letter.
Some kind groups will help you with estate planning so you can keep contributing after you’re gone. Thoughts of the litter of fund-raising letters piling up at a cemetery headstone come to mind.
Most requests include address labels. A hard-hitting, in-depth investigation for this column showed me with 60 such address sheets, 57 of which have been doubled shiny-side-in for the paper shredder.
One group has sent me five handy totes trying to guilt me into a gift. Others provide glossy, high-quality cards and envelopes. This gets worse as Christmas approaches. And, I’ve received two 2021 calendars before mid-June.
Some of the beggars include an international conglomerate which authorized the exploitation of the Americas and its native peoples for its godfather’s cut of the lucre. I figure that bunch has a debt of its own to pay.
And, yes, nearly every Democratic candidate in the country has my address, as does the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which spends much of its money working against my wing of the party.
Then there are “petitions” to be signed – with a handy donation form enclosed. Ditto that with “surveys,” that also allow for quick and easy giving.
And, even (especially?) the ones I have supported seem to be spend all of my funds on postage and trinkets to try to get me to give more money. I’m a fan of, and support, the U.S. Postal Service; glad to see them getting the business.
But, the colossal waste of paper and in the printing process and in the postage means the situation is more than a personal nuisance. It is indicative of our wasteful society. Good, healthy trees were sacrificed for this process. Probably a third of my junk mail is from alleged environmentalists.
So, I’m out of the donation business, even as I risk burning out the motor on my paper-shredder.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.