Monday, November 24, 2014

Not too long ago, I was meeting with a prospective member of 100+ Women discussing all things 'charity' and we touched upon unsolicited solicitations and how to protect ourselves from the overwhelming number of them (particularly this time of year!!).

As is my style, I obsessed over what to do and how to help others and came across a great organization called Charity Watchdog (, formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy (AIP).  Not only do they have very current information regarding global needs, but they are an independent assessor of all things charity.

They have a great article on seven ways in which you can minimize solicitations.  I have printed them out and am putting them into action.  I suggest you do the same.

It is particularly important because often such solicitations are fraudulent.  We need to protect ourselves as best we can against such scams and protect the elderly as well.  Take a few minutes to read through them.  I am convinced that you will be happy you did!

Their tips include:

1.     Be selective in your giving - when you give your name is added to the organization's mailing list.  Be sure you want to be on it!

2.    Enclose a note with your donation asking the organization not to rent, sell or exchange your name, address, and giving history to others.

3.    Ask the charity to reduce the frequency of their solicitations.  If they do not respond, consider changing who you support.  If you do not want to support an organization, ask to be removed from their list.  Be sure to save mailing labels!  They contain important information that will assist you in getting your name removed.

4.    Often these organizations rent or purchase mailing lists from the Direct Marketing Association.  Contact them online (  to have your name removed or write to them at:

Mail Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512

5.  Contact the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Trans Union) via toll-free #1-888-567-8688 to prevent pre-approved credit offers for up to two years and in writing to ask them not to disclose personal information for promotional purposes.

6.  To reduce unwanted telephone appeals you can complete an online form at:  or write to: 

Telephone Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 1559
Carmel, NY 10512

7.  Contact your local officials. 13 states in the U.S. are addressing the issue of unwanted mail and telephone solicitations. Check with the consumer protection agencies in your state and county concerning laws or regulations affecting unsolicited mail. Charities are often exempt from restrictions, but there are increasing efforts at the state level to reduce the burden of unwanted mail.

Good luck, be vigilant and continue to give to whom and how you want.

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