Quick Tips about Donations to Charity

Don’t Waste Your Money Paying Fundraising Companies for Gimmicks for Charity

Some years we get a gaggle of gimmicks in the mail from fundraising companies trying to get us to donate to charities. The most useful were the return address stickers. The least useful were the carrot seeds, although our guinea pigs liked the resulting sprouts. We’ve received note cards, fridge magnets, and posters too.

The idea is a simple one: the person who receives these “gifts” is supposed to feel guilty and send in a donation.

It’s very irritating.


It’s also a waste of money. I don’t want 50 cents of every 1 dollar I give to a cause going to a fundraising company. I also don’t particularly want to fill up my blue bin and garbage can with someone else’s idea of what I want.

Personally, I never send a contribution in response to these campaigns. (They can tell if you use the enclosed donation form and/or envelope that you were somehow motivated by their mailing.) I do sometimes donate to those charities, but I do it in other ways.

Perhaps if enough of us refused to give in to this emotional blackmail they’d move on to another technique, hopefully one that’s less expensive and less wasteful.

Watch Out for Scam Charities

We’ve probably all been accosted at the entrance to the grocery store by some rather awkward teenager asking us to buy a chocolate bar for charity. Before shelling out money for something you likely don’t want anyway, be sure to check a bit further as to what the charity is.

You likely know the schools closest to your store. If it’s one of them, it’s probably for real. But recently (or perhaps they have only been getting caught recently) there have been cases of criminal fraud. Teens have been hired to sell chocolate bars for a charity that doesn’t exist. You can read about what example of this in the Mississauga News.

So be a bit cautious.

You Can Give the Money and Refuse the Refuse

If I actually took delivery of a poinsettia from every person I know who is trying to sell them for their fundraiser I would be able to stock my own greenhouse. Similarly, anyone who looks like I do does NOT need to buy and eat any more chocolate bars, pre-buttered popcorn, chocolate almonds, or other snacks.

Most of these flowers and treats are being sold by my friends’ kids. Others are for reasonably worthy causes like a local youth outreach program. I don’t mind donating to these causes (even though there is no tax receipt involved) but I don’t want their stuff.

Guess what? You can give them the money and NOT take the item. It always startles people, but then they realize it’s a win-win. They can give my money straight to the group without ordering anything. In that case the group gets more money because they don’t have to spend part of it paying for something to give me. Or they can (and I suspect some of the ravenous boy band members do this!) take my donation and eat the treat themselves. Either way, their cause gets supported, and I don’t expand either florally or figure-atively.

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Do you have some other tips for managing donations to charity? Please share your tips and tricks with a quick comment. (or a slow one!)

4 thoughts on “Quick Tips about Donations to Charity

  1. My best tip for avoiding scam charities — make sure YOU contact THEM, not the other way around. Door-to-door, solicitors standing in front of Wal-mart, telemarketers, etc. = avoid avoid avoid.

    • That’s a great method. Too often phone solicitors are not working for a charity at all. They are just phishing for your credit card info. A reputable charity will be happy to mail you info if you ask when they phone–and will take you off their phone list if you ask.

  2. Donating funds to charity is an opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. Actions speak louder than words and investing in the work of charities can assure progress is made advancing nonprofit causes in which you believe.

    • True. And for those who cannot donate money most charities also need volunteers to help. Even an hour every two weeks is very helpful for many small organizations. Weeding, cleaning, photocopying, folding papers, writing replies to enquiries. All of these activities take time.

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