One Lady’s Views on Money Matters: From the Profound to the Mundane

Did you receive our gift?

That question, in bold, is on an envelope I received from St. Labre Indian School of Ashland, Montana.  The gift is an unsolicited polar fleece blanket throw.  The letter from St. Labre Indian School, dated 5  January 2010, states this blanket “was meant as a friendship gift from the Crow and Northern Cheyenne children who live and attend school here at St. Labre.”

Actually the polar fleece blanket throw is based on a Native American pattern but is made in China.  Second, I didn’t ask for the gift.  But apparently charitable organizations are now spending more money upfront by providing a prospective donor a “nice gift” in hopes the prospective donor will open up his/her wallet.

I know, during this Great Recession, charitable contributions are down.  Charitable organizations have to distinguish themselves to “catch the eye” of a prospective donor.  But this is going too far!  And the St. Labre Indian School isn’t the only charitable organization using such a tactic.  Last week I received an oversized calculator and pocket planner from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, Inc. of Washington, D.C.

I wish charitable organizations would not “up the ante” with “gifts” to lavish prospective donors.  And let me say, I do give to a number of charitable organizations including Oxfam America, Mercy Corps, Central Union Mission, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Edmundite Missions, just to name a few.

Because so many charitable organizations send “address labels” with their requests for donations, I have no need to even order address labels (I have tons of them).  Some charitable organizations include a memo pad with their requests for donations or seasonal cards.  Catholic charitable organizations include rosaries or another type of token with religious significance.   And this past year the Paralyzed Veterans of America included a CD of Christmas Music with its request for donation (BTW, very nice selection of songs ).

Have you ever wondered – how much does this cost?  How effective are these “gifts” in soliciting donations?

Personally I wish charitable organizations would “re-think” these unsolicited gifts, especially the larger ones such as the polar fleece blanket throw.

Do you feel guilty if you receive such a “gift” in the mail, keep the gift but don’t make a donation?  If  you don’t want the gift and don’t plan to make a donation, should the gift be returned?

Though it will cost me,  I will return the unsolicited polar fleece blanket throw.



  1. Kirk said,

    June 4, 2010 at 9:31 am

    “Though it will cost me, I will return the unsolicited polar fleece blanket throw.”

    Why not donate it and the cost of postage to mail it to charity YOU LIKE then send a post card to who sent you the gift telling them you are sure your charity appreciated it?

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