Sunday, August 19, 2007


None of my readers felt obligated to donate money if they used the free cards or mailing labels that charitable organizations sent them with requests for donations.

Marion Bruening of Salt Lake City, believes charities want you to use the gifts even if you don't donate. "It still gives the impression that this is a charity of your choice," she writes.

Some readers use the gifts to help other nonprofits. Sallie Pearlman of Orange, Calif., donates greeting cards to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. Alma Williams of Fullerton, Calif., cuts pictures off mailing label sheets and donates them to local school teachers to use as stickers.

But if you get too many "free samples," M. Chambers of Lancaster, Wisc., suggests, e-mail the organization and ask to be removed from its mailing list.

Some readers have found stopping organizations from sending labels and cards impossible. "So now I use the labels rather than throw them away," writes Pat Small of Brea, Calif.

But Deanne Dillenbeck of Cypress, Calif., sent the ones she received back in the prepaid envelope with a note asking to be removed from the charity's mailing list. "Do this once or twice and they get the message," she writes.

Check out other opinions at SOUND OFF: GIVE OR GIVE BACK? or post your own here by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2007 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

No comments: