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AIBU to ask a charity to remove a neighbour from a mailing list?

(37 Posts)
DaisyDreaming Sat 07-Dec-19 00:36:05

We have an elderly neighbour who has a mixture of a very old brain injury and mental health, I really think she has some dementia now days too. She was left a house so has a roof over her head but lives hand to mouth, week to week.

She used to come to us every time she was sent a charity letter. I remember one day she was in a state as a charity (something like age concern) that said that this old man *insert name* is lonely and isolated and for just X amount he could attend clubs. She couldn’t afford it but thought this featured man was reliant on her donation.

She no longer comes to us for that kind of stuff, not sure if she is asking other neighbours or not. We saw her today and she said she got a letter from crisis and donated the £30 they asked for. £30 is SO much money to her, she worries so much and she also can’t count money (luckily we live in a nice village, in the local shops she hands her purse over at the till and has the shop keepers take the right amount. As far as we are aware they all look out for her thankfully).

It does worry me she gets guilted into donating. I don’t know all the charities that write to her. We encourage her to either not donate or to donate only what she can afford but they make her feel like they are dependant on her.

Would IBU to contact the charities and ask them to take her off their mailing lists. Would they listen? My neighbour has no family and we have no rights to make decisions for her but I worry now she’s donated crisis will start sending more letters

DaisyDreaming Sat 07-Dec-19 00:36:31

*mental health problems

JulyKit Sat 07-Dec-19 00:38:53

I wish you could, but I doubt that they'd listen.

CrocodilesCry Sat 07-Dec-19 00:41:20

I’d write on her behalf and ask for her to be taken off their mailing lists, they’re not to know you aren’t her if you send a letter. You would be doing a good thing.

Boom45 Sat 07-Dec-19 00:45:23

Look into the fundraising preference service. As your neighbour you may not be able to sign her up but you could help her do it.

WreathsAndRopes Sat 07-Dec-19 00:45:44

Are they actually addressed to her? If it's generic you might be better off talking to the postman.

DaisyDreaming Sat 07-Dec-19 00:48:46

Thank you. It feels wrong to pretend to be her but I do worry about her. Some are addressed to her but we have a friendly postman, I hadn’t thought of talking to him too. I’m off to read the fundraising preference service thanks

HanginWithMyGnomies Sat 07-Dec-19 00:50:09

Unfortunately they have a way of targeting those who donate. Some good suggestions upthread and thank goodness for neighbours like you op!

Blackbear19 Sat 07-Dec-19 00:55:05

If its Age Concern I'd put it to them the other way, this is a vulnerable old lady who could actually be doing with their help and support not the other way around!

Woeisme99 Sat 07-Dec-19 00:58:37

I'd definitely pretend to be her, without a second thought. Remember that poor lady in Bristol who took her own life due a non stop stream of these letters. Something has to change.

Aridane Sat 07-Dec-19 01:04:32

Definitely contact the charities - no need to present to be her - explain the woman is vulnerable and lacks capacity to make donations. And that any further contact will result in a referral to the a charity Commission. They will run a mile

Aridane Sat 07-Dec-19 01:04:57

Sorry, no need to pretend to be her (not present to her!)

cheesemongery Sat 07-Dec-19 01:48:28

Can you just not tell them you are acting on her behalf, say you are her granddaughter or something. My Nan died two years ago and the amount that was coming out of her pension for charities was shocking - she wasn't in her right mind and was clearly duped. She also used to telephone the crossword 090 hotline for help with the answers because he was such a lovely man!

I'm sure if you call and say that Mrs... is not in the state of mind to make a decision and has now given you £30 - then do cancel her account please (whilst thinking how do you people live with yourselves, although it's not the call handlers fault)

Pollywollydolly Sat 07-Dec-19 02:06:16

When my Father in Law died, my Mother in Law donated money to a children's charity in his memory. Not a lot of money, but her details were obviously shared and she ended up being targetted by numerous other charities.

When she died six years later and I sorted out her affairs I was stunned to find how much money she had been paying out every month. It was way more than she was getting in and the wording of the letters that arrived every day was horrifying. The envelopes would say 'URGENT this child will die without your help.' We had thought she was of sound mind, but she clearly wasn't and I dread to think what would have happened had she lived much longer. She had gone through many thousands of pounds of savings which were dwindling fast and there was at least £30000 I couldn't account for at all, which I suspect was given to help out neighbours and various helpers.

It wasn't even just the money, there were other things missing including a garage full of expensive tools and fishing equipment. My husband was an only child and there were no other close family members, so I know the money didn't go to family.

It's kind of you to help your neighbour but what you are seeing is probably the tip of the iceberg.

FoamingAtTheUterus Sat 07-Dec-19 02:09:52

Problem is when she signed up to one they share info and she'll be getting bombarded. We cancelled all of ours because of it and I just support local charities sounds like it might be in her best interest for someone to apply for power of attorney to help with her finances. Would you be willing to do that ??

ThanksForAllTheFish Sat 07-Dec-19 02:19:38

You could write to them and say she is a vulnerable person and ask them to take her off the list. Most charities have policies around vulnerable people and should follow the guidelines set out in the vulnerable persons act.

brummiesue Sat 07-Dec-19 08:35:46

Please dont ask the postman to intervene! He has a legal duty to deliver all the letters not bin the ones you may think look dodgyhmm

Runssometimes Sat 07-Dec-19 09:01:32

I work in the charity sector. I would encourage you to speak to her about the FPS. Calling the charities direct is more tricky as yes the code of Fundraising practice prohibits soliciting donations from people who are vulnerable and unable to freely make those decisions but it’s actually pretty hard to tell from a phone call. Plus there’s instances of families financially abusing elderly members by intervening in their charitable giving.

However she can just opt out of mailings by contacting the charities. If she agrees to do this you can do it for her, via supporter services, saying you have her permission or the FPS. Opt her out of phone calls too. She may have a favourite charity she wants to help once a year so perhaps this might help her feel better about “letting them down” which is something people often say.

I’ve spoken to many elderly people over the years and they do feel bad. The problem is that each individual charity cannot tell how many appeals they might be receiving so the cumulative effect can be a lot. And there are targeted at an individual who was usually donated many times before as they are more likely to donate and we are bound to fundraisers in the most efficient way.

I always reassure people when I talk to them that they must only give what they can afford and not to worry about it. They’ve usually done a lot over the years and that’s more than enough.

I’d be very surprised if you encounter any difficulties, charities are mostly trying to alleviate distress not cause it,

Runssometimes Sat 07-Dec-19 09:03:36

It’ll be helpful if you have the mailings too and be able to quote her supporter number which will be on the letter so they can find the correct record on the database. Postcode should be enough, but this will make it a bit faster usually.

Runssometimes Sat 07-Dec-19 09:09:28

@Woeisme99 the family themselves have said repeatedly this isn’t true. This was whipped up by the Daily Mail into a campaign, for their own ends with no small amount of political interference. It’s not like charities never criticise government policy, particular austerity policy after all...

Cornishmum00 Sat 07-Dec-19 09:09:44

It may be worth contacting ss if you feel she is a vulnerable adult at risk of financial abuse, if the letters are generic would a sign saying no junk mail help?

RebootYourEngine Sat 07-Dec-19 09:19:36

Your poor neighbour. I would try everything I can to help.

Contact the charities, local sorting office, register them with the
Fundraising preference service and the Telephone preference service as well just in case there are cold called.
I would also consider a call to Social Services if you think your neighbour is in need of every day help.

TeachesOfPeaches Sat 07-Dec-19 09:28:04

Could she put a sign on her letterbox 'no junk mail'? Should help to cut down the number of letters.

Answerthequestion Sat 07-Dec-19 09:31:10

Just give the charity a ring, don’t tell them who you are and ask for her name to be removed, it’s not a problem

ShinyMe Sat 07-Dec-19 09:36:55

Re the postman comment - I agree that he may risk problems if he doesn't deliver the letters. Could you ask him to deliver those letters to you instead? That way he's still delivered and you can bin them.

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