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The New Fruitcake

The last couple of years, I’ve been pleased and impressed when the odd charity sent me customized return-address labels with its annual appeal.

This year, though, it seems that every philanthropic organization in the nation wants in on the return-address label gambit. Call it the TV Network Pile-on Syndrome: If something works, everyone jumps in.

This month, my wife and I have received attractive labels from UNICEF, Heifer International, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Wildlife Federation, and the American Lung Association. We’ve got them from groups we haven’t given to in years, if ever: The African Wildlife Foundation, Disabled American Veterans, the American Diabetes Association. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has even weighed in, and I’ve never even heard of that one.

Which consultant dreamed up this ploy? And why are all these charities playing along? Don’t they understand that mailed letters are a dieing breed? And bizarrely, almost none of the labels I receive bear any hint of the organization that sends them. What good is that?

All I know is, we now have more return-address labels than we’ll ever use in the coming year. Maybe we can fob some off on our friends.

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