How to get money from me every year

Hi, are you a charity or non-profit organization that I support? Would you like me to give you money every year? Here’s a great way to increase your chances of this actually happening: ask me for a donation once, and only once, per year.

A problem I have with many organizations is that they ask me for a donation multiple times in a single year. Since I (and I’m assuming most people) prefer to give on no more than an annual basis, asking multiple times just confuses me, and likely hurts the cause financially as a result. Schools are especially bad, since they like to refer to an “annual fund,” which really threw me off before I realized they had been over-begging. I’d like to hear about the annual fund annually.

Here’s the basic problem: I cannot remember the last time I gave. I can’t even remember where I park my car every day. So, when I receive a solicitation, I think, “Hmm, did I already give this year?” And then my memory flashes back to the last mailing, which was less than a year ago. And I think, “Yep, it feels like I just gave,” whether or not I actually did. The mailing then goes into the (virtual or physical) trash. This continues until a mailing happens to come along at a time when I happen to be feeling exceptionally charitable or bored, and actually check my official record of charitable giving: Google’s gift matching program. There, I can see if I’m actually due.

Here’s how I think it should be done: Send me a reminder about donations once per year. And, perhaps more importantly since it will take me a while to trust that you only nag me once a year, include a copy of my giving history with the donation form. That way I can immediately see that I’m due to give, and how much I gave last time. It’s simple, it will cut mailing costs, and I might even give more.

Oh, and just as a reminder, let me give online. Who do you think I am, my mom paying for groceries 15 years ago? I have no idea where my checkbook is most of the time. Most charities are actually pretty good about this now, but I didn’t want to waste the line about my mom at a grocery store.

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