Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Stop your giving going to waste

By Valerie Yule - posted Tuesday, 13 October 2015

I have just counted up that 47 charities send me their appeals, not counting those that I mark "Return to Sender" immediately, people coming to the door and people pretending to say thank you on the phone.

The increasing amount of paper bumf sent with these appeals is making an increasing contribution to global emissions, waste of trees and waste of people’s time. It is getting worse.  

Last week one charity used an Express Mail envelope, several charities enclosed colour magazines, two had free gifts, one sent still more address labels, and none had only one sheet of paper.  


Several have sent me six appeals in one year, although I always write on a donation slip ‘Only one appeal annually please and No Bumf paper’.

After one warning, I now cut charities off my donation lists, if they make more than one appeal in the year, and I sometimes return their self-addressed envelopes telling them why they have been cut off.

This waste is driven by competition for donations and by the findings made by charities that many people will be swayed to give by these expensive frills – including key-rings and Sleep notices for doors.

How about?

How about one annual Charity Supplement in newspapers and magazines, for people to keep and send off donations slips as they chose and when they could.  Other organizations and libraries could keep copies for referral on their display shelving.  Calendars could list a few charities for each month.   However, that strategy would not net all possible donors.

This sometimes works - a really good idea could be for charities to mark on their lists all those donor who ask for only one double-sided sheet per year,  which gives basic information and news, donation form and web sites, plus a return envelope.  Such waste-hating donors could have an exclamation mark next to their name, for computer sorting to pick up.   Val Yule !  means ‘No Bumf, No magazines or gifts, and Not more than one appeal a year’. Charities might find that half their donors had exclamation marks after their name.


Think of the savings!  If we all insisted that the ‘Less Bumf sent to us – the bigger our donation”.  Some charities could cut their staff in half.  Then our donations could go further to their intended charitable destination, to whatever we meant it to go to.

One form of paper waste that wastes even more is pictures of large families seeking our charity, or mothers of eight who are given ways to fish, or small babies smiling that will arouse our generosity without making us think that they will grow to be adult men and women.  Why do we have Save the Children?  I would rather we had Save the Adults.

One useful research would list all the charities that converge on one place.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

6 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

Valerie Yule is a writer and researcher on imagination, literacy and social issues.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by Valerie Yule

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Photo of Valerie Yule
Article Tools
Comment 6 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy