To the editor:
‘Tis the season to be jolly – and to be solicited by every imaginable charitable organization. Having just received three mailings from the same source in the same week, I’m prompted to comment on the array of available choices for benevolence.
There is reason to question responding to the slick, high-powered national charities when so many opportunities exist locally to benefit a full spectrum of age groups and interests. Several dozen registered Section 501(c)(3) organizations based in Lincoln County are worthy beneficiaries of our goodwill, including churches. We fortunately have many generous residents who realize that the most productive and satisfying charity can begin “at home.”
Perhaps the best argument for focusing contributions locally is the knowledge that a very small percentage of donated funds is absorbed by administrative and promotional expenses. Environmentally, that greater “bang for the buck” might eventually lead to a reduction in the astonishing volumes of paper used in shotgun campaigns of major charities seeking support from millions of donors.
The number of contacts made from unfamiliar causes attests to the lucrative practice of buying mailing lists from other organizations. I’m annoyed to receive an envelope with “teaser” coins or stamps showing through the address window, or enclosing sheets of personalized return-address stickers. A recent oversized item meant to appeal to financial sympathy contained an electronic calculator. Even worse turnoffs are the many solicitors hoping to convert what the donor considers an annual gift into a repetitive act by sending multiple follow-up requests.
Perhaps most importantly, local giving becomes more personal as an investment in our neighboring communities. The results are more easily seen or judged through conversation with friends and acquaintances actually involved in the delivery of services or as recipients of those services. Santa Claus is always welcome in Lincoln County.
George C. Betke Jr.