You just can’t support them all

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, October 27, 2015

By T.J. Ray

Today my mailbox gave me three more, making the total 11 for the week. I hope to live long enough to send as many letters as I have labels. I must confess that I did not read all the words that came with the solicitations. There is an amazing similarity among them.

That similarity definitely describes their contents. First, there is a letter explaining who the folks are who have chosen me to be their fiscal savior. Then there is either a calendar (large or small) for 2016. Sometimes there is a decal or sticker for my car. Rarely does a donation solicitation arrive without a sheet of mailing labels. Finally, there is a card on which I am asked to indicate the amount of my generous and critical donation.

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Without meaning to be flippant, I can honestly say they are clones — at least in the sameness of their communication. How much they paid for my name and address to some contact broker is unknown, but I’m sure part of what I might send a group goes to buying names and printing all that stuff and mailing it to people. And, too, some groups set up phone banks and make unsolicited calls asking for support. At least their calls are done by people and not robotic systems as are political pitches.

I do not challenge the likelihood that a small donation from me will help a worthy cause. I’m curious about how much some groups ask. A long time ago I found animal aid folks saying they could support an animal for $19 per day while children aid groups can do the same thing for $16. Frankly, I don’t understand the difference and don’t accept it. But the truth is I have not the funds to contribute to every group that sends me mailing labels.

My conclusion is that I will focus my pittance of support on a few groups. If everyone did that and we chose different groups to support, perhaps everybody would benefit. In the end, I wrote a letter that I now send to groups I’m not going to support.

Here it is:

Dear (Name of Organization):

With this letter is my check for $25, which will be the last one I’ll send you.

It’s not at all that I think your cause isn’t worth supporting, but the fact is there are more worthy groups that need help than an old retiree like me can help.

I’m writing this note to thank you for your good work for a group that seriously deserves gratitude. Also I hope this letter will get my name removed from your call and mail lists. Whatever that saves you is to the good. And I wish you all the success in the world.


T. J. Ray

T.J. Ray, a retired professor of English at the University of Mississippi, can be reached at