Why I’ve been put off donating to one major charity

I have been annoyed by a big-name charity after I gave it what was, by my standards, a pretty generous donation.

I made the donation in response to a high-profile campaign, and was quickly thanked by the charity. I thought that would be the end of it, and from my point of view that would be fine – I don’t expect the chief executive to come round to my house to thank me personally for my incredible generosity.

It was what happened next that I found annoying. About 10 days later I was unpleasantly surprised when I received a letter from the charity suggesting I make another similarly large donation.

This made me feel pretty cross. The donation I made is not the sort I’m in a position to give every week, and for the charity to ask me for another big gift made me feel as if it was just treating me like a cash machine. Surely the organisation knew I had just made a donation? Did it really think I would give again so soon after the last gift?

Thinking about it in the cold light of day, I realise the likely explanation is that it was just unfortunate timing. I have given to this charity before, so I imagine that the letter was probably part of a planned mailing that I would have got anyway, regardless of whether I had recently made a gift.

But I wasn’t thinking about that as I opened the envelope. I was annoyed, and as result I’m much less likely to want to give to this particular charity again.

Touchy, I know;  but I would guess that I’m not too different to many people out there, and it just goes to show the minefield that charities must navigate when communicating with donors.

It strikes me that the charity may have avoided this situation by using its data well.

I don’t know what happened behind the scenes before I received the request for a second donation, but I imagine that if someone could have ticked a box that prevented the pack going to those that had just made a donation, it would never have arrived.

Something to bear in mind before asking people to give again.

3 Responses to “Why I’ve been put off donating to one major charity”

  1. Sharon Thresher

    It may be worth pointing out that, by the time you’d sent your initial donation, the data for their mailing had probably already been completed and sent to the mailing house. These kind of mailings have around a 2-3 week lead-in time, so it’s likely that they couldn’t have stopped you getting the mailing even if they had wanted to…

  2. Cherry Jarrett

    As big as your donation was it probably didn’t cover the cost of the post campaign asking for more. Sometimes the smaller charities can make much more use of the funding gifts they get, right there in the grass roots.

  3. Emily Keenan

    I totally understand your frustration. I have small monthly direct debits fixed up with five or six charities of my choice, none of these donations are particularly large but they show my support for the work of charities without breaking the bank (I’m a recent graduate and work part-time in the charity sector). One of the large charities that I give to (or rather a proffessional fundraising compny they pay) bombarded me with calls asking me to increase my monthly donation. They have been persitant, pushy and actually made me feel less happy about giving money to this charity at all.

    I realise that charities must raise funds, but on occassion there should be a recognition that people that already donate to them are giving what they feel they can and that is enough.


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