How to Organize Charity Appeals and Benevolences

Some people have a bigger heart than wallet.  It’s fairly often that I see a sweetheart of a person overwhelmed by all the need in this world.  They have good intentions and a sense of stewardship, so they send a few dollars to this charity or that religious organization.  Pretty soon, they’re on the “sucker list”.

Yes, there really is such a thing.  Don’t be offended.  It’s the truth.

So, do you have to put up with all the unsolicited charity appeals that come to you?  No.  First of all, take steps to get off of mailing lists.

Next, make a list of all the charities you support.  Make another list of all the ones you used to support or once considered or never even thought about, but still don’t want to give money to. You can use this template to charity tracking template that you support. Print out a copy, and keep it with your bills or where you keep your incoming mail.  You can even make a note of when you gave to that charity, so you don’t mistakenly donate more often than you mean to.

Last, have a place where your charity appeals go.  You know, the ones you’d like to send money to but can’t this month.  Most charities are expert marketers, and they’ll send you the same appeal over and over again during the year.  Some of them will even increase the amount of mail they send you if you start donating to them.  They figure that you bit that line once; they might be able to reel you in again.

organizing paper, organizing mail

We set up this little “Benevolence Box” for one client using supplies that are readily available at any office supply store.  She files alphabetically the charity appeals that she supports but can’t send money this month.  If she gets another appeal from the same group, she can easily see that just by looking in her box under that letter.  She keeps only the most recent appeal.  This particular client was able to reduce the paper in her home by at least 60-70% by my estimate.

I hope this works for you.

Are there any other tips you use to stay organized and a good steward?



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Pat S.

    I don’t want to just keep track of the charities I donate to. I want to get off their mailing list…and the mailing lists of those charities I no longer support.

    Especially the ones I no longer support.

    How can I do that? Thanks.

    1. Darla

      Uhg, I hear ya. You could write “Return to sender” on the envelope and send back through the US mail, but since most charity appeals are run from highly automated companies, there’s no guarantee that will work. it’s worth a try, though. You can also use the self addressed envelope to send a note that says something like, “Please remove me from your mailing list. I do not wish to receive charity appeals from your organization or affiliates.” You can also check out my post on getting off of mailing lists,, and unsubscribe from as many lists as possible. It may take a while, but it will reduce your junk mail income over time. Good luck. Let me know how it goes.

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