1. Discard appeals that don’t interest you. No charity expects a response from everyone it solicits. Responding with even a few dollars to a charity request puts you on its mailing list, a list it may decide to share with other charities.
2. Write directly to charities whose mail you don’t want and ask them to delete your name from their mailing lists. Tell charities you support whether you want your name removed from any lists they rent or exchange. (An Alliance standard requires that a charity offer its contributors an opt-out opportunity, in its written appeals, at least once a year.)
3. Enclose the mailing label or return card that came with an appeal when you write to ask a charity to stop mailing to you or exclude your name from any list that it shares with others. If you want to eliminate duplicate appeals with slight variations in name or address, enclose all the labels with your request.
4. Add correct postage to any charity appeal envelope on which you’ve written “delete my name” or “return to sender” before you put it the mail box. Charities’ nonprofit mailing rates won’t pay for returns.
5. Register with the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service. Since not all mailers use this service, registering won’t eliminate unwanted mail but can reduce it.
6. State your preferences about the number and timing of appeals from your favorite charities and see if they’ll honor them. Many now offer automatic monthly bank withdrawal plans that replace mailings.
7. Tell the Alliance if a national charity doesn’t handle a complaint to your satisfaction. Send us your complaint by regular or e-mail and we will relay it to the charity. To meet Alliance standard 20, charities must respond and act on complaints we bring to their attention.
Read more about how charities get your name and why they send so much direct mail to potential donors.