How Many Address Labels Do You Need? by Rich Paschall

If you have ever given to a charity, either online or by check in the mail, you may have gotten a number of solicitations the following year from similar charities. If you gave to several different organizations, requests might be clogging your inbox or your mailbox. That is of course if your letter carrier has time to sort the mail after the postmaster general trashed 711 high-speed sorting machines, but I digress.

You may wonder why you are getting all those new requests. Some may come from so-called charities that you have never heard of before. You might be tempted to send them money. After all, they do the same work as________ (fill in your favorite charity). But do they really?

It is an unfortunate fundraising fact that charities will sell their mailing lists to other charities as a way to make money. A directory of potential donors is of value to some organizations, and they are willing to pay money to have a listing of people who give money to charity, especially a similar charity. Are all of these other charities reputable? I am not so sure I would jump on the bandwagon of some organization that paid money to get your name and address.

If my mother were alive now she would be 100 years old on Christmas Day. She would tell you, and anyone who would listen, that she felt a bit cheated to have her birthday on Christmas. Everyone else had a separate celebration for their birthday. All she got was two Hallmark cards for one single day. I guess I would feel a bit cheated too. Like a good Catholic mother who grew up in the Depression, she had that guilt trip thing down to a science, but I digress…again!

Mom at Thanksgiving 1999

She lived to be 88, so there were a lot of Christmases in her life. She passed away in 2009 on Inauguration Day. I know this because I was at home ironing a shirt and watching a replay of President Obama’s first Inauguration speech when I got the call from the nursing home. Some details stick with you.

For about 9 months before she went into the hospital and the nursing home, she lived at this address. She spent the last six years at the nursing home. For the first few months and the last few, it was not clear that she knew where she was. The last Christmas was very quiet.

This year my mother received a piece of mail at this address. I thought that was rather strange since nothing had arrived here for her this past decade. I figured I would not be in trouble with the Postal Service if I opened it because they may still be busy removing mailboxes and slashing working hours, but I digress…again…sorry.

Dear Valued Supporter?

“Dear Value Supporter” one item began. They apologized for not sending my mother a nickel with their mailing, but there seems to be a shortage of nickels due to the pandemic. You can believe their reason if you like. Sending a nickel or a dime with the mailing is a common fundraising ploy. Many people will send back the nickel or dime with their donation as the nice mailing requested. You might feel obligated to send them something because after all, they sent something to you. Years ago, some organizations would send an actual stamp, but the cost of those keep going up while the postmaster…oh, nevermind that part.

My mother had a stroke on Easter (or thereabout) in 1993. I say it that way because she did not answer her doorbell on Easter and I let myself in. She may have had the stroke a day or two earlier, but the paramedics rather doubted that. She spent three months in the hospital and another at a nursing home for rehabilitation. She never wrote another check in her life. She never owned a computer so there were no payments online.

In the years that followed, I wrote the checks and my mother did her best to sign them with her limited mobility. I kept track of all the bills and balanced the checkbook each month. I may have in fact sent a check the first year or two to the organization that so kindly mailed to my mother this month. My mother was particularly sensitive about people with disabilities and may have told me to “Send them a few bucks,” which I probably did.

After the first year or two, there would have been no more of that. The small social security check hardly made it to the end of the month, and the rest of her money was gone. She was no one’s supporter. I know it for a fact. When she could no longer stay in her apartment, we moved her to the building I live in. Only a handful of friends and relatives, the bank and the utilities, and of course social security and medicare, received the address change before she needed more care than we could provide.

A real postmaster

Why did we get this now? It should be of no surprise that charitable organizations, like almost all businesses, are trying to find ways to supplement income. Fundraising is down as people stay home and spend less. Reaching out to past supporters might be a way to bring in some income, but reaching back 25 years or more seems like a real long shot.

The letter my mother received came with very nice address labels for her. In fact, the envelope advised that she was getting 55 percent more FREE address labels. More than what, I do not know, but she did get a lot of labels. Address labels are a common giveaway and often prompt return donations. I have a lifetime supply of address labels if I stay at the same address. In fact, so does my mother. Perhaps we should use them on our Christmas cards this week before the postmaster general can wreak more havoc on the Postal Service…but I digress.

See also: “USPS Launched DeJoy’s Changes Without Considering Impact, IG Says,” by Eric Katz, Government Executive,, October 21, 2020


Categories: Anecdote, Family, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. I guess everyone is hurting Rich. Looking forward to an end to all this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we all are. Unfortunately, too many people are not taking it seriously,

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rich, thanks for the shares about your Mom. I wonder what she would make of our nation right now.

        My Mother lived to about the same age. She passed in ’07. Dementia robbed of her of her final years but she remained a fighter. I have a memory of Mom – the night before Christmas – laboring over a long, long, list of cards to be sent to myriad people. Even in her 80’s, she wrote in a neat, flowing penmanship that I lost somewhere in my 50’s.

        I still have myriad address labels from various charities. I still use the ones with animals. They are always up lifting.


  2. Yes I remember getting address labels, useless now that I barely post anything, I also used to get unsolicited packs of Christmas cards from a charity that supported disabled artists. They would send out the cards with an invoice every year. I took to sending them back in the hopes that they would get the hint. I’m gradually unsubscribing to everyone and tell the few callers I still get that I can’t donate but every now and then one comes along that I can’t say no to because it is a cause I care about.
    My mother also had her birthday on Christmas Day and my sister and I always made a point of buying her a separate birthday present and taking some time out of the day to present her with her present, card and a birthday cake. She would have been 99 this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also get a lot of Christmas cards. I feel I can not use them if I did not donate. so they go right into the recycle bin (unless they are covered with glitter). I usually use some of the one from Boys Town, a well known orphanage here. I read up on one of those charities that send cards from disabled artists and it turned out the artists got very little while those that ran the charity got a lot.
      My mother’s younger sisters were always good about the birthday cake, and of course we always got separate presents. I never wrapped the birthday present in Christmas paper. That seemed to help the cause.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I finally caved last year —no longer those long list of cards — written till my hands clawed up. I send out a few “snail mail” cards to immediate family and a a very few friends. I’m on the E-Card bandwagon.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I lost your previous comment. I did read it before sending it accidently into cyberspace, I think. Anyway, I too have a variety of address labels and it is time to break out the ones with winter scenes.
          My mom also had great penmanship and was very proud of it. She hated to sign anything after her stroke because she was embarassed by the result.

          Liked by 1 person

        • That sounds like the way to go. I just have to send cards to the “older generation” who send me cards. My mother’s sisters and some cousins would be surprised if I stopped. I also send to my high school drama teacher in California

          Liked by 1 person

    • I send a few dollars to Durrell’s foundation where they are breeding nearly extinct animals on Jersey. I sent a few dollars to a couple of artists because I can’t afford the paintings. For the pols, I’m more inclined (if I like them) to buy a piece of clothing — a tee-shirt or a hat. They get most of the money anyway and I get something besides more letters begging for money — or I supposed, in addition to those begging letters.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I gave a few dollars to Obama. Twice. I am still trying to get rid of the vast quantity of begging letters I get from every democrat in every state in the country. I unsubscribe with vehemence and diligence. If I don’t, there will be thousands of these send me money letters — DAILY. They never quit. I think they get LESS money because maybe you have a few dollars saved up and you will send it to them.

    Liked by 1 person

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