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To think this is emotional blackmail?

(21 Posts)
Topaz25 Sat 15-Feb-14 13:52:18

Today I received an unsolicited letter from Ethiopiaid asking for donations, suggested donation £20. It was addressed to me personally, I don't know how they got my details. I'm sure they're a very worthy charity but I'm struggling financially and can't afford to donate at the moment. I do what I can when I can and have my chosen charities I support when I'm able. So I should just ignore the letter, right? Except it says please reply in 10 days in red capitals on the envelope and encloses an example of the dress patterns they use to teach women recovering from fistula operations to make dresses. The letter says "We'd really appreciate it if you could return this dress pattern to us within 10 days so we can show it to more kind people who may be willing to help. It would mean so much to a woman with fistula if you could also send a donation at the same time. Thank you."

So if I don't return the dress pattern I'll feel bad because it'll actually cost the charity money but if I do return it I'll feel bad about not including a donation. AIBU to think this is emotional blackmail?

Also I have depression and I'm struggling to do all the things I need to at the moment, like returning forms for my insurance, applying for a passport and drivers license, returning mail not known at this address, filing important documents, sorting through and throwing out the mountain of letters already on my hall table etc... the thought of adding another item to the paper pile and the to do list is overwhelming.

exexpat Sat 15-Feb-14 13:56:48

It's an unpleasant marketing tactic and I hate charities that do that sort of thing (also sending unsolicited 'free' gifts like pens, seeds, personalised labels, cards etc).

But there is absolutely no need to feel guilty about not returning the pattern. These are slick marketing campaigns designed by professionals, and the costs are worked out so that even if 99% of people just bin the mailshots, the donations from the 1% who respond cover the costs of all the mailings and make the charity a profit.

I would bin it without a second thought if it's not a charity you have chosen to support and you can't afford to anyway.

ICanTuckMyBoobsInMyPockets Sat 15-Feb-14 13:57:36

It is emotional blackmail, but that's what they're counting on.

Put the whole lot in the bin and think no more about it. Don't worry about the dress pattern, it's pennies.

Helpyourself Sat 15-Feb-14 13:59:42

That's really mean. It's a great charity, but you're right that's emotional blackmail. They'll have costed the mail shot, so although technically they could resend the pattern I bet they don't.
So don't feel bad grin
Now that other mail...why don't you write not known at this address on all the unknown mail and this charity one and walk it round to the post now. You might get blown off your feet, but it'll be one less thing on your list.

wowfudge Sat 15-Feb-14 14:30:20

Put it in the bin OP and forget about it.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Sat 15-Feb-14 14:44:32

Fund raising is tough and I don't blame organisations for being inventive. They took a chance hoping you'd make a donation, look at charities who print off named address stickers or enclose a biro, unsolicited but all designed to guilt trip us into coughing up. It's always a challenge to come up with fresh ideas. With the best will in the world you can't donate to every good cause so don't worry.

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Sat 15-Feb-14 14:48:45

The whole point is to tug at heartstrings / hope you feel guilty

but you are in control. they can't make you feel anything if you choose not to feel it.

So put it in the bin and forget about it. It went out to a LOT of people, from whatever mailing list they had got hold of with people's names.

Those who can afford to and want to contribute will do and those who don't will also put it in the bin.

Nice tactic of trying to get people to send it back with or without a donation of course. They then know who is feeling just a bit guilty and therefore they are the ones to target with a follow up guilt trip.

foslady Sat 15-Feb-14 15:08:06

I think of it this way

'A person on a much higher wage than me in an advertising agency is doing their damnedest to get me on a far lower income to give a charity donation. And being paid handsomely for doing so.'

Hope that takes the guilt away. (and don't be sad - be angry that they have sent you an unsolicited begging letter. And you are doing really well every time you sort a piece of post out thanks)

Greydog Sat 15-Feb-14 15:09:28

send it all back to them with Not Wanted written all over it

pigletmania Sat 15-Feb-14 15:13:59

I would put it back in the envelope, seal it, write return to sender, and forget about it!

pigletmania Sat 15-Feb-14 15:14:32

Oh and out it ack in the post box when you next go

MrsBW Sat 15-Feb-14 15:14:41

I got the same letter today.

It's going to be posted straight back, unopened, marked 'unsolicited mail, return to sender' on it.

No idea how they got my details either.

Cringechilli Sat 15-Feb-14 15:18:27

Bin the lot. There will be no problems arising from binning it and it will get this item out of your to do pile and will enable you to forget about it.

pigletmania Sat 15-Feb-14 15:32:45

How do you know it's not a scam, designed to make money. I don't know any charities who would write anything lik that, and ask anyone to give £20. That is a lot of money and coud be some bodies weekly food bill.

pigletmania Sat 15-Feb-14 15:35:01

That letter sounds quite aggressive and not designed to tug on your heartstrings, it would immediately put my back up

LovelyJubblies Sat 15-Feb-14 17:14:40

Throw it away.
I do with all letters like it
I donate what I can, when I can and marketing like that does absolutely nothing to me.

Topaz25 Mon 17-Feb-14 15:22:49

Thanks for all your replies. The letter is in the bin where it belongs and I'm working on the rest of the paper pile. I don't know what I was thinking letting it get to me, I was just having a bad day. I hadn't considered that they will have costed the whole campaign so probably wouldn't resend the dress patterns anyway or realised that if I returned the pattern they might see I was feeling guilty and target me with more mailings!

formerbabe Mon 17-Feb-14 15:24:44

I'd write in even bigger red letters 'please take my name off your database within the next ten days' and post it back to them.

Pipbin Mon 17-Feb-14 15:29:29

I have heard that some charities, especially ones based outside the uk will by data bases of addresses of people known to give to charity. I even heard of one charity based in an African country that bought the names and addresses of vicars and priests and got classrooms full of children to handwrite letters to them.

gamerchick Mon 17-Feb-14 15:32:37

Glad you've chucked it. It boils my piss some of the tactics charity shop employ to get money.

I won't say what I want to say to the rspca who conned their way into my house and stayed for an hour getting my lovely gentle husband to sign up to a direct debit for a tenner a month while I was at work. I'm still raging about it angry

Don't give it another thought.. baby steps on your paperwork.

sisterofmercy Mon 17-Feb-14 16:16:41

Lots of charities send the same sort of thing to me. A charity which I had sponsored in better days (2003) sold my details on to other charities around 2012/2013 sometime. I angrily told them it broke the Data Protection Act for them to hold on to my personal data for so long after it was needed. Nowadays my donations go through shops and collecting buckets where they don't get my details.

I expect this is how Ethopiaid found you. As was said above - all of this has been carefully costed to include people who don't reply.

I am sure you will give to charity when you are able to but you will do it when you are healthy and financially able and in a method that you choose rather than be pressured into.

I hope you start feeling better soon and I hope the paperwork turns out to be less horrible than it looks. You'll better when it is sorted.

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