saying please and thank you

I have just received the kind of door drop I truly hate. A red envelope was popped through my door today; the only words on the outer envelope are “Wishing you a happy Christmas from everyone at  charity xxx ”.

Already I am angry because I have never given to this charity and yet the letter starts: “Dear Friend” which is presumptuous. What is the alternative? OK I am not sure but does it need a salutation?

A speech bubble says:

“Please will you give £20 to pay for an hour of nursing care….” It goes onto say “Will you give £20 that could pay for an hour of free nursing care?” If it is free why does it cost £20?

So, my hard earned cash lasts an hour and they are being instructive on the amount I give.  The door drop (from the Chief Executive) goes on about the “quick passing of the year and as CEO of charity xx  my first thought is for patients” etc etc etc

This is all a disguise. The CEO does not wish me a happy Christmas, she wants me to give money or that is how it feels to me.  This type of approach is neither transparent nor honest. She goes on to say that her nurses work right the way through Christmas. This is not a period I want to be made to feel sorry for them I should be admiring them.

The PS (in faked handwriting) says:  I have enclosed a few gift labels as a token of my gratitude to you, I hope you find them useful. Thank you and have a lovely Christmas”.

Two points:

Firstly, how many of you would give a ”friend” a few labels as a present. It is an insult; it is cheap and tacky.

Secondly, why is she saying thank you? I have not done anything and after receiving this awful door drop I will certainly NEVER give to this charity even though I think their services are more practical and beneficial than some of its competitors.  Actually I think it is a great charity – or I did until now.

The final part of the  letter is focused on a series of “We Want” paragraphs and a guilt driven “families having a last Christmas together”. “We want” is, in my view, not a good ask. “We yearn to be there for every person and every family going throuh cancer and you can make it happen” would appeal to me. I would like a family member telling me more. The back of the response form is almost good because it show more practical aspects of services but photos are not captioned so I have no idea who the photos represent. I find it depressing and not inspiring.

Every day I am meeting donors who are cancelling direct debits. They are maintaining support for charities which focus on outcomes and developing donor satisfaction rather than presenting a patronising and meaningless please and thank you. There are few outcomes and there is no yearning to make a difference.

PLEASE will you go to and read Matthew Sherrington’s great blog on saying “please and thank you”.

PLEASE will you consider not saying please and thank you.


PS I showed the door drop to my wife and really harsh critic of fundraising and she was a fundraiser for many years. Her reaction: i thought it was really nice. Isn’t this typical?

and if you want to look at some inconoclastic legacy examples please visit



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