How to Give Without the Headache that Can Come Along with It

If you’re like most, your inbox swelled to near-unruly proportions between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Much of that can be blamed on retailers, large and Etsy-size, who, desperate for your business, have come to believe that bombarding you with daily discounts is the most effective means to snare your interest.

Crammed among that onslaught of ads most days was another plea, this one from charities. Those emails (and, potentially, texts, calls, and letters) may have been overshadowed by the sheer volume of ads and everything else that comes with the holidays anymore, but make no mistake; they were there in abundance, too.

Most charities received the majority of their funding for 2020 in those final few weeks of 2019. Compound that with the midnight deadline on New Year’s Eve for tax-deductible giving and you’ll start to appreciate the urgency of the situation. 

Of course, few among us are fans of all the solicitations, regardless of how selfless their intentions may be. So, even though you’ve likely regained control of your inbox by now, here are a few suggestions to help keep you out of the fray the next time around.

Redistribute your donation

If you’ve donated previously, the holidays were most likely not the first time you’ve received some sort of communication from the beneficiary. Charities tend to keep in touch with prospective donors at various times throughout the year when they feel the donors are likely to be receptive to their overtures, the holidays being one of them.

But if, instead of making a donation at the end of the year, you sign up for a recurring gift—one in which you give an amount of your choosing each month or quarter—you shouldn’t receive another solicitation from the charity—at least not until it comes time to renew. As long as the charity knows it can count on your support, they understand they’d be better served spending their marketing dollars elsewhere.

Open the lines of communication

This could sound a little obvious, but, short of signing up for a recurring gift, you could always contact any charity you’re considering supporting and let them know your intention. Even if you’re not prepared to donate at that moment, you could specify what your preference is—monthly, quarterly, annually. Which would enable them to tailor a more individualized schedule to communicate with you.

You could also simply ask them to limit their communications. Charities with respectable track records will almost always honor your wishes. Just as effective, at least on the email front: Click unsubscribe when their next email arrives. But don’t report it as spam. That’s likely to impact their rating as an email sender.

Stay in the shadows

And, finally, if you’re truly determined to remain off the radar, donate anonymously. It’s the only fail-safe way to protect your privacy.