Barrie Donaldson of Parksville with some of the 76 requests

Fallout from making charitable donations — Parksville man bombarded with mail

'I mean come on, this is ridiculous' says Barrie Donaldson

Barrie Donaldson wants to help. What he doesn’t want is any more calendars, Christmas cards and pens.

The Parksville man said he sent $25 to six different charities in 2015. In return he has received 76 requests from 20 organizations requesting donations. Donaldson said one of these organizations, Covenant House in Vancouver, has sent him 17 requests. The Canadian Red Cross sent him 11. He’s also received six wall calendars, a desk calendar, 40 Christmas cards, more than 50 tags and stickers, more than 200 return mail address stickers and six pens.

“I mean come on, this is ridiculous,” said Donaldson. “The money (he sent) doesn’t seem to be going for the purpose of it. It seems to be going to administrative stuff, to send out pens and calendars and letters. The money is not getting to where it was intended.”

Donaldson said he has tried, through letters and other forms of contact with organizations, to put an end to all the shipments to his Parksville home.

“It was pointless; it went unnoticed,” he said. “I don’t know what the answer is. I think I will just give locally next year.”

The director of development and communications for Covenant House said her organization will do monthly mailings, plus some follow-ups, so it’s conceivable Donaldson did receive 17 letters from that organization in 2015. Darlene Lynch said the mail-out program has been successful for Covenant House, a faith-based organization with a $13 million annual budget that provides shelter and services to children and youth who seek help.

“We have experts that help us in this field (direct mailing) — it’s best practices,” said Lynch. “Some people love to get our mail, some people hate it. All he (Donaldson) has to do is call us and say he doesn’t want the mail.”

In 2015, the Canadian Red Cross’ administrative costs were 18 per cent of revenues and its fundraising costs were 19 per cent of donations, according to charityintelligence.ca.

In response to questions from The NEWS, the Red Cross said direct mail accounts for 50 per cent of all direct marketing revenue and it’s “a very reliable revenue stream.” Red Cross officials also said they are responsive to its donors.

“If a donor asks for fewer mail-outs, we accommodate their request.”

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