Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Wednesday Words Mailstrom edition

Dear Concerned Citizen

An introductory paragraph, introducing a poster child for the cause.  The poster child (who may be an adult suffering from a disease, or a member of a socioeconomic group afflicted by a political situation, or a tree—or a child) is in a most lamentable circumstance.  This circumstance may be unpleasant, but wait—it gets worse.

The details of this circumstance are spelled out in vivid detail in a paragraph in bold.  This “punches up” the story, and makes you, the concerned citizen, care even more about the poster child’s story.  Sometimes there is even a picture:


It doesn’t have to be this way.  There is a simple solution, one that concerned people are struggling to enact.  The Charitable Organization is hard at work providing this solution.  The Charitable Organization was founded by concerned citizens like you, or by a saintly Nobel Prize Winner, to help Poster Child.  Since a reasonable date, Charitable Organization has helped hundreds of cases just like Poster Child.  Charitable organization has been a prime mover behind…

*This famous project, to which we assume you are sympathetic.

*This project, which we also assume aligns with your interests.

However, it takes money to do Charitable Organization’s work—a seemingly small amount per day.  Yet even this is hard to obtain.  Concerned citizen, have you considered what your small amount per day could do for Poster Child?

Your small amount per day could:

*Do this good thing for Poster Child

*Do another good thing for Poster Child

*Prevent this bad thing from happening to Poster Child

*Do this other good thing for Poster Child

But the effect of your small amount of money has an effect far beyond Poster Child.  Your generous gift would enable Poster Child’s community/environment to blossom and thrive for generations to come.  All this, for less than you spend on coffee/toilet paper/newspapers.  Won’t you consider joining Famous Person, Other Famous Person, and Another Famous Person in supporting Charitable Organization? 

Together, we can prevent BAD THING from happening.  With your generous gift, Poster Child will never have to bad thing again, and GOOD THING will happen for years to come.  We hope you will give generously to Charitable Organization, and accept this bumpersticker/notepad/sheet of address stickers as a gift from Poster Child and Charitable Organization. 
YES!  I want to save Poster Child from Bad Thing!  I stand with Famous Person for Good Thing!  And, if you act now, we will thank you for your generous gift with a tote bag or trivial doodad emblazoned with the logo of CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION. 

I will make a gift of

$ money  
$ incrementally more     
$ twice as much
$ a largeish, but not too intimidating, amount

(Over 16% of your donation goes directly to Charitable Organization’s activities.)


In the old days, my parents would occasionally make donations to Save the Redwoods or the like.  As it is said, no good deed goes unpunished, so one organization or another sold its mailing list to other charities, and then they got sold again, and again.  In the old days, this wasn’t too much of a problem.

As has been noted, my Dad has an advanced case of Alzheimer’s Disease, and my Mom is following him into the foggy, forbidding land of senile dementia.  After my Dad lost his facilities, my Mom reluctantly assumed control of their finances; over the last year, as she’s been losing her short-term memory, this has devolved onto the shoulders of me and my brothers.  So, we’ve made arrangements to have bank statements, bills, and the like delivered to us, to spare her confusion.  When a bill does come to her, I can expect a 45 minute phone conversation about the bill; the dialog will be extremely recursive, confusing, and culminate with twenty minutes of me guiding her through writing a check and putting it in an envelope. 

Bills, thankfully, are rare.  What’s not rare is appeals from charitable organizations.  My Mom gets a couple every day, and she doesn’t know what to do with them.  She suspects that they’re not bills.  However, they do have her name and money amounts on them.  So, she scrawls on the envelope “What is this?” or “Save for L” or “Don’t think we do this” or “????”, and puts it in the flat-rate mailing box addressed to me.  When it’s full (which takes less than two months), she sends the box to me.  Then I get on the phone, asking these worthy organizations to stop sending my parents any mail, ever.  This time, there were over 40 different organizations appealing for money, and it took me over six hours of phone time.  I am feeling somewhat uncharitable at the moment. 

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