Charity Navigator shows donors how to protect themselves against unwanted charity junk mail:
Or watch here on YouTube.
The video gives donors tips for reducing their mail. And asks fundraisers to "respectfully promote their good works to potential donors rather than harass them with endless appeals."
It's more than a little irresponsible for Charity Navigator to buy into the myth that fundraising is a form of harassment. Some fundraising could be called harassment. But that's the bad stuff; there's a lot more that's a welcome and legitimate part of donors' self-actualization. You and I and Charity Navigator may think it's ugly and tacky and simplistic, but that's a matter of taste, not fact. Charity Navigator should help donors get the fundraising they want, not assume the worst and call names.
But there's a more important message here: Get used to it. Whether it's Charity Navigator, financial advice columns, or hucksters selling "remove my name" products, more and more donors are going to learn that they can limit what shows up in their mailbox. Here's what you should do about it:
- Don't let a handful of complainers drive your policy. One person's annoying junk mail is another's welcome communication on an issue they care about. When you put the number of complaints an appeal generates against its number of gifts, you'll usually find gifts outnumbering complaints by a factor of multiple thousands.
- Respect your complainers. Give them what they want. If they want less mail, or no address labels, or never to hear from you again -- just do it. And do it fast. This is how you can either keep them as donors or s stop wasting money on them.
- Create opportunities for donors take control of the relationship. Let them set the frequency to their own preference, rather than waiting for them to get annoyed before anyone makes a move to correct things.
- Be relevant. If your communication comes across as a stream of harassing appeals, you have a relevance problem, as unfortunately many large fundraisers do. It's time to rethink how you win people to your cause and motivate them to give.