It’s the season of goodwill, and perhaps it isn’t surprising that at this time of year I receive more unsolicited letters from various charities than normal. As a general rule I don’t mind this, as all these organisations need to raise money, and some such as Crisis and the Samaritans do excellent work at Christmas looking after those who would otherwise be friendless, homeless and on the streets at this time of year.
Recently however some charities have started to send me little gifts in their envelopes. The worst offender is the British Red Cross, which bombards me with coasters, greetings cards, pens and badges. Today, the Smile Train joined in by sending me a keyring with a gadget attached which I could use to release a supermarket trolley if I didn’t have a pound coin in my wallet.
I find this kind of marketing campaign disgraceful. By sending me a free gift they are counting on me feeling that as I have been given something I should be under an obligation to send some money to them by return. I know that both the Red Cross and the Smile Train do wonderful things, but they tarnish themselves in my eyes by resorting to a thoroughly underhand and in my opinion cynical ploy to extract money from me.
I would recommend anyone else who receives these missives to do as I do and throw them away, and support charities which do not resort to such methods.