Red Cross Overkill

The Red Cross does wonderful work worldwide and I have occasionally sent them some financial support for their work during particular crises. Yesterday, though, they sent me entirely the wrong message.

I received in the mail a huge envelope that was so big it had to be folded to fit into my mailbox. (I have blurred out my address.)

Inside it were the following items:

  1. A letter in computer-simulated handwriting, supposedly from a beneficiary of Red Cross charity.
  2. A thank-you card with envelope.
  3. A “just because” card with envelope.
  4. A gratitude journal, to which I can contribute daily.
  5. A flyer for an insurance company that sponsors the Canadian Red Cross.
  6. A Thank You pamphlet identifying the Red Cross mission statement and listing the causes they fund.
  7. A prepaid return envelope.
  8. A page of four “triple gift” vouchers indicating the matching funds from the above-mentioned insurance company.
  9. A donation form with quotations from people who have been helped by Red Cross.
  10. A flyer illustrating the Red Cross comfort bear which is given to children.
  11. A four-page solicitation letter.
  12. A tote bag.
  13. A flyer explaining that the tote bag is made of recycled materials.
  14. Two pens with the words “Be Grateful” and “Be Kind” on them.

Somehow, I don’t think that the fact the tote bag is made of recycled materials makes up for the complete waste of paper (and hence trees) represented by the other items. It is all just too much.

And, something in me balks at being exhorted to be grateful and kind multiple times, as though the assumption is that I am neither of those things.

I presume that the gifts and exhortations have proven to be effective at soliciting donations, but when I try to estimate the cost of all these items I wonder if my contribution would even cover the expense of the plea. In fact, I can only think that the Canadian Red Cross is wasting donors money.

This is not the first time I have written about this. I had a similar grumble in 2017. That time I wrote to let Red Cross know how counter-productive I thought their methods were, but I didn’t get a reply. And, it seems, they have now upped the ante by including even more miscellany in their fundraising envelopes..

I will not be sending them any money in reply to this latest appeal and I am tempted to send it all back to them, but I won’t do that either. I’ll just keep on responding to events that move me to want to help, but I won’t do that because Red Cross ask me to. I’ll do it gratefully because it will be the kind thing to do.


  1. I agree and it’s been a beef or mine as well for decades. In fact, I stopped giving to charities who spend the funds on mail that bombards me with request after request. If I do feel compelled to give to the larger charities, which I do from time to time, I try to do it anonymously so they can’t fill my mail box with similar tactics.

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