Two mailings from Peaceful Mountain Donkey Rescue in less than three weeks was the last straw.
September 3, 2009 8:31 PM   Subscribe

How can I get off mailing lists for charities (and other non-profits) I never contacted in the first place?

I occasionally give money to charities, and/or patronize the arts. They, then, pass my information on to other charities and arts organizations, who send me solicitations. I would like to both:
  1. stop the solicitations I am already receiving, and
  2. prevent yet more organizations from spamming me with their junkmail
I already make sure I always uncheck any boxes on forms that indicate I will be added to any mailing lists; unfortunately, not all organizations are straightforward in their intentions in this way.

How do I make it stop?
posted by ocherdraco to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Dear [organization],

I will not be sending you any money. If it makes you feel better, please say that I donated [current cost of stamp] the next time you mail potential donors.


I haven't done it for charities, but I have done it for other people. A few times with that is the most anyone has ever lasted with that coming from me.
posted by theichibun at 9:29 PM on September 3, 2009

1. I call them and say politely, "I'm calling to have this address taken off your mailing list, please." They've always been accommodating.

2. donate only to organizations with privacy policies that say "We don't share your info with 3rd parties," or if they have no privacy policy or an unsatisfactory one, I call them after I figure they've processed my donation and say, "I just made a donation and I'd like to be taken off your mailing list please."

Also, "Could you please tell me, if you have the information, where your organization got my contact info from?" There's a code, some combination of letters and numbers, on some junk mail that tells them this. This info has let me know which organizations I'd donated to (a while back, so I'd forgotten about it) were particularly free with my info. I could kill those hydras by getting myself off the list they were sharing around.

And of course it's helpful to sign up for the the Direct Marketing Association's do not mail list.

Sorry to say, there's still a couple of theater groups that don't list a telephone number and just won't take me off the list even after multiple letters pointing out that they're wasting money by soliciting me when I've moved to the other end of the country. I should try theichibun's technique on them.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:46 PM on September 3, 2009

Having worked for a charitable organization, I would say "please remove from your mailing list. " Most people will be happy to deal with someone who isn't being aggressively rude.

For what it's worth, though, we never shared our donor information with anyone.
posted by iftheaccidentwill at 12:18 AM on September 4, 2009

I know someone who writes for a direct marketing industry trade paper; contacting the DMA's "do not mail" list is precisely what he always suggests when I talk to him.

cybercoitus, memail me with details about those theater groups -- I may be able to help you (I work in theater).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:08 AM on September 4, 2009

I work for a nonprofit. You should be able to call any organization and tell them that you want to get taken off their mailing list without any hassle. I also second the suggestion above to contact the organizations that you do donate to and make sure that they don't exchange your information (they should be able to mark this on your record).
posted by fieldtrip at 10:39 AM on September 5, 2009

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