Thank you, yet again, persistent nonprofit organizations, for the multi-occasioned notecards, but we need to talk.

You sent me a letter asking me for money and then sent along something that cost money as some kind of thank you or – more likely – guilt gift. It doesn’t guilt me. It makes me wonder about you; do you understand your job?

Like when you send me a dime asking for a dime. I have no problem contributing a dime to save the life of a baby. I would even send more than one dime to save more than one baby. But the way you’re literally mailing money so as to ask for money, it makes me wonder where my money will be going. Do you not understand how much a dime is? Do you think I don’t? I was under the impression that they were valuable until you just started giving them away in the mail.

I’m not sure how comfortable I feel giving you money if it’s just going to be given to someone else in a letter asking for money. Will you send my dime to my neighbor, asking her for a dime to save a baby? Will some guy in Albuquerque be getting my dime in a letter that asks him for a dime? And what if Albuquerque-guy doesn’t send you a (my) dime, but keeps it? Now I just gave money to some guy I don’t know who could be a meth dealer.

Couldn’t you have kept this dime you just sent me? Couldn’t you have just kept the dime and put it in the empty water jug marked “Dimes to Save Babies?” Wouldn’t keeping the dimes save more babies? Not only have you lost a dime by sending me a dime, you spent nearly five dimes worth of postage to send me one dime.

I’d also like to know if the dimes circulate. Will I eventually get my dime back in a letter asking me for a dime? And if I send a dime along with that letter’s dime, haven’t I just sent you double the dimes? If I switch the dimes, will you know?

Look, I don’t want to send you my spare change just for you to send it back to me. This is a silly game. I don’t think you are taking baby-saving seriously.

And the other things you foundations send me! Maps, stickers, stationary, Christmas cards, notepads, address labels, rulers, Christmas cards, books, bookmarks, pens, pencils, socks, Christmas cards, calendars, handkerchiefs, lanyards, and a teddy bear. One of you sent me a teddy bear. Don’t get me wrong – he was adorable – but maybe you could have given the teddy to the AIDS orphans for whom you were asking me for money. And why would I need a fleece blanket? You’re the one asking me for money for cold people. If I desperately needed a two-foot by two-foot fleece blanket, I would be asking you for help – not the other way around.

Now, don’t give me that, “for your future donation, we’re giving you this gift,” because I haven’t donated yet. You’re putting a lot of faith in a complete stranger to give you money for a gift that she didn’t ask for. Similarly, you are requiring a lot of faith in me to give money to an organization that is asking me for money after sending me something that cost money. You may be thinking, “Well, we have faith that people will donate anyway.” Yeah, well I had faith that my money was going to a good cause and not to making sad-eyed-puppy LED key-rings.

I am baffled and, quite frankly, worried. You have instilled little confidence in me in your abilities to allocate money properly. So, until you can prove to me that you understand how much a dime is worth and to whom wool socks should be going, any future gifts will be met with a gift on behalf of the Reducing Items I Don’t Want And For Which I Didn’t Ask Foundation, or the RIIDWAFWIDA Foundation. As a thank you for your future support of RIIDWAFWIDA, I would like to give you this gift that looks a lot like your gift, but definitely isn’t.

The greatest way to give to the RIIDWAFWIDA Foundation is not to. So please, for the love of humanity, don’t give. By not giving, you will provide valuable counter and desktop space to a person who so desperately needs it. Please! Think about the college students who already have so many pens. Think of the working mothers who just need room on their tables to feed their hungry children. Consider the wall space unable to contain any more calendars without looking ridiculous. All it takes is a moment of your time. And nothing else. Because when it comes to not giving, it’s the thought that counts.


Photo by Waugsberg (, via Wikimedia Commons.