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How To Manage Your Mailbox

 
 
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A day doesn't go by without a donor contacting us expressing their frustration at the number of solicitations they receive from charities. 

If that sounds familiar to you, then we recommend you follow these steps:

  • Donate to charities with a demonstrated commitment to donor privacy (look for the Donor Privacy metric in our A&T ratings). 
    To make sure you don't end up on another group's mailing list, confirm that the charity you are donating to has made a promise not to share, sell or trade your personal information with any other entity. Charity Navigator's Accountability & Transparency evaluations include an assessment of each charity's donor privacy policy. To fully meet our criteria, a charity must have a written donor privacy policy that states it will not to sell or trade the personal information of its donors. In addition, we require that the policy be prominently displayed on the charity's website or in its marketing and solicitation materials.  Some organizations may require a donor to take an action to opt-out of having their information shared, and we note this in our A&T score. Depending on the charity, you can opt-out by phone, mail, email, or by checking a box or when making an online donation.

    As a Charity Navigator registered user, you can use our advanced search feature to find a list of charities that are financially efficient, match your charitable interests and have a confirmed donor privacy policy.

  • Refrain from giving small donations to many charities. The quickest and most surefire way to wind up on mailing lists is to make lots of small charitable donations. If you've taken the time to find an efficient and effective charity you like, you may decide to concentrate your giving to that charity instead of spreading your money around to many charities with which you are less familiar.

  • Call or write the charity directly. 
    If you receive mail from a charity you haven’t previously supported and you don’t want to continue to hear from them, contact the charity and ask to be removed from their mailing list. Additionally, you can ask for the name of the organization that provided your name.  Be sure you have the appeal letter on hand because the charity will likely need specific information from it in order to locate the mailing list source.   It could be another charity but could also be from a retail catalog or a magazine subscription list. Then contact that organization to request that it refrain from selling or trading your personal information.

    If you support a charity that sends you too frequent mailings, contact the charity and let its staff know of your giving plans. Will you donate once a month, once a quarter, or once a year? Most charities will welcome your call. They prefer to have donors that they can depend on to give without having to be reminded throughout the year. This helps the charity improve its fundraising efficiency and ultimately dedicate more time and resources towards the programs you wanted to support in the first place.

  • Give anonymously. 
    Take advantage of Charity Navigator's Giving Basket which lets you decide how much personal information you want to share with the charity - from your full contact information to none of it.

  • Register with DMAchoice.org
    The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) maintains a list of individuals who do not wish to receive certain types of unsolicited mail, including charity appeals. There is a $2 processing fee to register.  The service also allows you to control mail on behalf of someone else (such as an elderly parent) if you are their legal caretaker, or add a name and address to a deceased list; neither of these options require a processing fee.  Note that if you have made a donation to an organization in the past, registering through this site will not stop mail from that particular organization.  You’ll need to contact those organizations directly to update your communication preferences.

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