Saturday, October 02, 2010

A Time to Give, a Time to Kvetch

To everything there's a season, and early autumn is a time to start thinking about providing Thanksgiving meals to the hungry of our nation. As I've stated before, I believe those of us who revel in culinary joys should be especially mindful of the simple joy of a decent, balanced meal for someone who might otherwise go without. The organizations that provide meals to the needy are doing their Thanksgiving drives now, and you should consider helping them out.

Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest)
Food Bank for New York City
Find a food bank in your town with the Food Bank Locator

Now for the kvetch. The other day I got my mail solicitation from Citymeals-on-Wheels, an organization that delivers meals to the homebound elderly of New York City. I was about to fill out the form and make a donation when I discovered that there was no place for credit card information. The form assumed one was sending a check. But how many people write checks any more? Almost every charity I give to has a form that includes space for credit card information. How could Citymeals have made such a stupid omission? I was about to give up, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Then I found another form online that had a section for credit cards. So what gives with the direct mail reply form? Don't they realize that any impediment is a potential loss of donations? I'd bet that by leaving the credit card section off the reply form they've easily lost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in support. And on top of that, the reply envelope was not postage-paid. Now I don't mind putting a stamp on, but what if I didn't have one handy? That might have been another reason for a contribution not made. What kind of idiots designed the solicitation campaign? Clearly the organization accepts credit cards, so why didn't the form say so? People who design mail solicitations should be as mindful of usability as web designers. Poor design = lost business or support. I needed to make my donation by mail, because I have to include a corporate matching gift form. I finally did so, but it was touch and go. If the folks from Citymeals-on-Wheels are reading this, wake up. And if they're not reading this, maybe they're reading the form I returned with my donation, upon which I scribbled: "Why no place for credit card info? You almost lost a donation. And you should supply postage-paid envelopes." But most likely a volunteer will see it and toss it in the trash before processing my check and my matching form. Let's see what I get next year.


Post a Comment

<< Home