How can I donate to animal charity without being added to a list
December 3, 2011 12:30 PM   Subscribe

How can I donate to a cause without increasing the amount of mail I receive?

I want to donate some money to an animal rights organization (e.g. ASPCA) but as petty as it sounds, I do not want to increase the amount of junk mail I receive. In the past, I learned that one donation could open the flood gates of junk mail. I also don't want to be asked every month for more money -- prefer to just donate when I can afford.
Does anyone have recommendations how to donate without being added to a mailing list and also any specific animal abuse/cruelty prevention organizations I can donate to? I'm starting to think that anonymous is the only way.
posted by Yunani to Pets & Animals (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
i donated to doctors without boarders and the only junk i got was in my email box.
posted by nadawi at 12:32 PM on December 3, 2011

If there's a Coinstar machine in your area, you can donate to causes that way. It'd have to be in coin form, but I save up my coins, and then donate when the piggy bank's full.

(Also, the charities may vary, but there's usually a few animal rights ones, as well as others like the Red Cross. I donate to the Red Cross that way.)
posted by spinifex23 at 12:39 PM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I donated to Cavy Care (SHE RESCUES GUINEA PIGS!!!!) once and heard nary a peep after that, which is just the way I like it. And like nadawi, I once gave to Partners in Health and just get junk e-mail from them, which I can deal with.
posted by jabes at 12:44 PM on December 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm in Canada, and donate through the website. The website gives you the option to donate anonymously to any registered Canadian charity (including international ones like Red Cross or Medecins sans Frontiers/DWB). I still get all the tax receipts, etc, but the organization to whom I am donating gets no info about me.

Not sure if there's an equivalent in the US.
posted by lulu68 at 12:55 PM on December 3, 2011 [2 favorites]

I also donated to "Doctors Without Border" and opted out of further mails and/or sharing of my e-mail address. I received only a bit of junk on my e-mail and a pretty good world map through postal mail the next year. I was quite happy with their professionalism.

I think if you choose respectable, large organizations, use a throwaway e-mail address and opt of our any further junk mail and/or sharing of your coordinates with other organizations, you'll be fine. I would suggest that you don't donate to organizations who don't specifically ask you about future communication preferences.
posted by justlooking at 1:01 PM on December 3, 2011

Thanks for the replies so far.

What do you guys think about donating to the big organizations vs the small/local ones? There's a local charity I was thinking of helping since a friend has used them and was very happy. They are very small.
posted by Yunani at 1:09 PM on December 3, 2011

Small nonprofits often really, really appreciate what you can give them. I think it's awesome to give to small nonprofits - it just requires more legwork to make sure it's a legit organization that actually deserves your money.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:54 PM on December 3, 2011

Make your donation in cash or money order.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:56 PM on December 3, 2011

If you know what you're looking at, I think donating to smaller organizations is good.
posted by rhizome at 2:04 PM on December 3, 2011

Donate locally...Yes! And, any legitimate organization will respect your request that you not get further communication. Or, send a money order or drop off cash.
posted by tomswift at 2:19 PM on December 3, 2011

If you're okay with donating online, Network for Good will donate for you anonymously. The only email I get from them is an annual reminder to review my donations in preparation for doing taxes. Note, however, that they do charge a small percentage processing fee but the full amount of what you donate is tax deductible.
posted by fuse theorem at 2:58 PM on December 3, 2011

Send them the donation with a note saying that you don't want mail / email and you don't want your info sold or shared. Easy peasy. I'm a fundraiser and we see this stuff frequently and follow the donor's wishes. Obviously, its in the charity's best interests. A happy donor is a better candidate for more donations.

As for local or national - it depends on what you want to accomplish. National ASPCA does more for advocacy, awareness, helping critters around the country. A local ASPCA probably has more needs to pay for services such as rescue, spay/neuter, and helping local animals.
posted by Talulah at 3:21 PM on December 3, 2011

There are two ways to deal with this in my experience. The first way is to donate online with a credit card; the recipient organisation often doesn't get your postal address. I just opt out immediately, from the Thank You email. We donate annually to Scarlet Teen, Doctors Without Borders, Wikipedia and the EFF and get absolutely zero mail from them.

The second method is cashiers check. Previously, I worked in development at a small non-profit. If you want to stay off all lists, mail in a cashiers check. Literally post them an anonymous bank check. We would get those now and then. The only drawback is that you can't write those donations off on your taxes.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:51 PM on December 3, 2011

I work for a large, national nonprofit organization. If you were asking about my organization specifically, I would tell you to do it this way:

Give online, then wait a week or so for your information to get into the system. Then call headquarters (you should be able to find a main phone number on the website) and ask to speak with membership services, and then when you get connected with someone, give them your name, email address and street address and ask them to make sure not to send you any paper mail.

It's not automatic, but it shouldn't take more than 5 minutes with a large organization with staff dedicated to this sort of thing, and I know my organization would honor this request, as would any reputable organization.

Some organizations also have contact forms on their websites - you should be able to make this request that way as well, as long as you provide enough information for them to identify you.
posted by lunasol at 3:57 PM on December 3, 2011

One other thing - if you opt out of all emails, you also won't get action alerts. ie, "contact your representative about xxx." If you don't want to get those emails, great, but if you do want to know about opportunities to do that sort of thing, then make it clear that you only want to opt out of postal mail and email fundraising requests, not action alerts.
posted by lunasol at 4:00 PM on December 3, 2011

I donate to FreeGeek, Direct Relief, the Office of Letters and Light and Hillel and none of them have ever sent me any postal mail. If you donate via the internet you can almost always opt out of mail, in my experience. It can be a wee bit trickier to get out of emails sometimes - it seems like I have to opt out each time I donate to some of them. But anymore I don't really mind, since that just goes into a folder that I can glance at and empty at my leisure.

Also, donating through my workplace's Combined Charitable Campaign never results in mail. They have a little checkbox that you can use to make it anonymous, but I've never bothered using it, and I still haven't gotten anything beyond a one-time thank-you from one of the organizations I donated to.

(I don't care about local versus not. I care a LOT about administrative overhead, which tends to be a little better on the national level than the regional level, and varies tremendously at the local level because some local groups, like FreeGeek, are 100% volunteer-run. Make sure the small organization discloses all that stuff to someone - if they're affiliated with any of the big fundraising campaign things they will have.)
posted by SMPA at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2011

I send a check and mark out my name and address. Easy, plus I can always print out the copy from my bank's website when it clears.
You can also put an email address on the check of you'd like.
posted by mightshould at 9:02 PM on December 3, 2011

Previously, I worked in development at a small non-profit. If you want to stay off all lists, mail in a cashiers check. Literally post them an anonymous bank check. We would get those now and then.

If someone sent you a personal check, would you bother typing in all the information in order to send them mail solicitations, or would you just cash it?
posted by smackfu at 10:15 AM on December 12, 2011

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