Posted by: Leslie | August 27, 2010

Don’t thank me, really

Every year my alma mater, Wellesley College, hits me up for money in their annual giving drive. And every year since my Wellesley degree has led to a decent income, I’ve given a (very) small donation. It’s something I’m happy to do, especially since the college has been hit by the recession and had to cut student amenities I would’ve found it hard to do without. I like that in recent years the college has focused more on sustainable initiatives, which fits well with the natural, and often fragile, space it physically occupies.

Tupelo Point on Lake Waban

This year the annual giving campaign was ramped up in an effort to get as many alumnae as possible to give. After putting aside several notices in the mail with an immediately forgotten intention to do it tomorrow, I finally got my act together after a phone call from some poor student who got stuck doing her Work Study in the annual giving office. I got an email confirmation with a thanks attached, and I thought that was it.

My old place of residence

A few weeks later I got a form letter in the mail from the college thanking me for my donation. Okay, not necessary, but fine. Then two weeks after there was a postcard in my mailbox, thanking me again. This week I got yet another email informing me about the final numbers, with a thank you. Here’s the thing: I really would have preferred they not send me anything in the mail. Not only is it a waste of paper, but I don’t like the thought of my paltry donation immediately being funneled into international postage for multiple rounds of thank-you letters.

Galen Tower, which makes its way into just about every promotional photo of the college

My suggestion to Wellesley is that if you give online, send a thank-you note by email. I mean, how many thank yous do we need? For those alumnae who don’t have an email address or who gave through the mail or by phone, send a single postcard or letter. Not both. And not in addition to two emails! Spend my donation on academics, student life, sustainability measures, the Russian department, whatever. Time to write a letter myself, but I think I’ll do it by email.



  1. Oh, but it gets better! That last “thank you” postcard? I got one too – and I didn’t donate.

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