Coming Out as Old
INTERESTING STUFF – 8 February 2014

Crabby Old Lady's Political Harassment

I don't know about you guys but I liked the mix of this week's blog posts more than many weeks.

The daily topics are not something I plan much. They come about and are decided upon almost entirely day-to-day from what I run into or, otherwise, what has been on my mind for a while that I may have spent time researching. I go with them as long as they are not repetitive within the five days.

Some weeks are more interesting than others – like this one that provoked four days of good discussion. More than many others, this blog is nothing without you, the readers, and I thank you. I have as much fun here reading comments as I do writing the stories.

Unfortunately, I can't match the work involved for something as equally provocative today. Somehow I booked way too many meetings and appointments for yesterday leaving pretty much no time to write.

But Crabby Old Lady, who you'd think had more that her share of space in this week's mix, does have one little thing stuck in her craw.

Crabby subscribes to a bunch of – way too many – email newsletters from progressive and Democratic organizations. They keep her up to date on political doings and current talking points about many of the issues that concern her.

Most of these groups send out a missive every day and way too many send several each day. Every one of them ends each mailing with a request for $3, sometimes $5 or they beg to meet a fund-raising goal by midnight.

Or what? The world will end? Contrary to their hysteria, not every issue is earth-shattering.

Now, more frequently than in the past, the messages have no – as in, zero – information beyond begging for money.

Crabby has not unsubscribed from any of these organization's mailings. Yet. She is about to begin.

She donates to a few whose groups whose work she most believes in on an annual or bi-annual basis but even they annoy her constantly with penny-ante $3 annoyance emails.

Crabby Old Lady wonders if she could possibly be the only person who wants to support political causes she believes in but is feeling increasingly harassed by the constant pestering and will start opting out now.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Dan Gogerty: Amazon Left a Pig on My Doorstep


These organizations must have road experience which demostrates that incessant appeals actually result in higher overall levels of donations.

However, it does seem counterproductive and unfair to faithful supporters (most of whom surely are not moved by this approach to donate more) to drive us to distraction with the non-stop nagging.

It seems that political campaigns never end. As soon as one election is over, there are appeals to fund the next one. Puzzling, I'm still getting appeals from President Obama and he isn't running for anything!

I think that six months is plenty of time for any campaign. Therefore I do not contribute until that time. Now I wonder... if I'm going to contribute, let's say $60 (and that's ALL), should I do it in one dollop.. or dribble it out $20 per month?

Also annoying is that my contribution is often met not with a "thanks" but with an appeal for more!

Yes... a good week of posts! Thanks.

Yup, Unsubscribe. When G lost his job, we had to let everything go. Now, two years later, we have only rejoined a few of the organizations that we belonged to before. Keeping it simple, that's us.

Right on, Ronnie! I thought it was just me whose enthusiasm was flagging while everyone else was fervently supporting good causes. I'm saving my (poverty level) income to send to a few favorite lawmakers --nearer to the mid-term election.

I certainly get as many as you do -- and I have found a solution. Every December I unsubscribe to most of them. If they ask, I include a note: "Annual email purge."

This never completely cuts off the flow, partly because I exempt a very few and partly because these worthy efforts are hydra-headed.

Then, gradually, if I am really interested in some cause or some candidate, I start in January responding or even seeking out certain causes. This functions as a sort of annual clean up.

About donating to campaigns: the moment of greatest impact for small contributions is early on, if you choose to make them. That's when they are struggling to get up and running. Ignore them later when they email you -- which they will.

I get way too many of those three to five dollar requests and I never donate to those email requests because I feel if I do, they will breed like rabbits. I do, however, donate to political organizations I believe in. Unfortunately, there so many lies and distortions these days for them to fight that they really do need the money to fight that. I like Jan's idea of a once a year purging/unsubscribe day.

You nailed it again Crabby! I unsubscribed to all last week for the same reason. If they asked for a comment, I told content just a constant harangue for money.

I can look up what I want to know, donate if and when I want to, and I only am receiving political email from Bernie Sanders.

Yup, I opted out, too. Don't suppose they'll get the message, do you?

I do the annual unsubscribe too, political emails and the requests for charitable donations as well. They just nag, nag, nag.

I also unsubscribed to almost all of them over a year ago, after getting to the point that several requests were coming in at least weekly. I actually went as far as to track them by moving to folders set up for each entity. What particularly got to me, was coupling the request to sign the POTUS or the FLOTUS birthday cards, or some similar act, but then there is the request for a donation. Where does this money really go? I like to have a little more accountability of what the money I donate is going towards,not some vague explanation that there are deadlines to meet and battles to fight. As someone who, with my husband, is now living solely on SS, I cannot afford to respond to all the requests, and really, we are now among those who probably qualify for assistance in our own right. We're still trying to change that, but it's tough.

I open my e-mail box to at least 60 new entries per day; most of them are political and are asking for $3. I am low income so am very selective in how I spend my money. My political contributions go to those causes I am passionate about, but not at $3 per donation.

last December I unsubscribed to all but Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, Daily Kos and Move On. Guess what? I now have just as many in my e-mail box as I did before purging the list and I did not re-subscribe to any of them. Now I just delete them automatically when I see the donate button.

Crabby, I'm with you; so annoying to get those frequent beggings for $3 0r $5 that I realized that they were are more interested in solicitation of funds than enlightenment of genuine information so I am now constantly unsubscribing and searching for other avenues to be informed about issues that I care about. There is tremendous opportunity for JUNK and waste of time emails, newsletters, etc., making it necessary to seriously scrutinize everything. I appreciate the integrity of your blog, my favorite. Thank you.

I quit subscribing to all that stuff several years ago, but unsubscribing didn't stop the flow. In fact, those groups share/sell their mailing lists, so I just got more and more. I'm an independent, but I bought a couple of souvenir Obama stickers during his first campaign and the Dems now treat me like an honored member despite my protestations. At some point these organizations gravitated to robocalls. I live in a swing state and it really got insane. I finally changed email addresses and now give the old address to any website that insists on one. I've seriously considered changing my phone number as well. AARP, which I dropped years ago, must have sold my info because I'm inundated with robocalls selling products for seniors (call buttons, funerals, cremations, hearing aids, nursing care, etc. None of them will ever see a penny from me!

I am also inundated with myriad donation requests. However I don't give out my email address so just have to contend with snail mail. I just switched to a new email address and will keep in mind PiedType's idea of sending unwanted emails to the nonfunctioning one. I wonder if I put down that one on a
return card, the org. would
switch to email and stop the
snail mail. Maybe I will experiment.

I'm among those who have been nickled-and-dimed for political contributions. And I've also responded by cutting back in an Annual Email Purge (what a great phrase).

In addition to political solicitations, there are also charitable solicitations. My strategy is to pick two environmental groups whose work I respect and admire and one group which performs surgery in underdeveloped countries on children born with certain serious birth defects.

It's easy for me to ignore other solicitations because I think it's more effective to donate more money to a few organizations than to give a pittance to many.

I'm curious - does anyone know if Republican, Tea Party and other right wing political organizations harass their subscribers in a similar manner?

Like the great W.C. Fields once said. "I never voted for a man in my life but I've voted against hundreds of them". Or to quote CCR from Fortunate Son,"When you ask them how much should I give? They only ask for more". Come on people get back to your roots it's not ancient history.:))))

I'm with you. This has been bugging me for weeks, and I have started unsubscribing. I'm deciding which one does it the least, and which one I find most valuable. I almost opted out of Alan Grayson's, but they gave me an option of getting them much less frequently so I'm hoping that also means less "asking for donations". I do like what he has to say. Some others, not so much.

Same here.

Political emails go to a separate email address and usually I just read the subject line before deleting. I opt out often, and give the same type of reasons - too much drumming for money, too little positive actions and facts.

Yes. And I did unsubscribe to p the constant begging for money.

Just to let you all know that the solicitations will continue long after we're all dead. My mother died in 2009 and I had her mail forwarded to me so I could pay her final bills. I am still receiving requests from political and charitable organizations in her name today...

"Or what? The world will end? Contrary to their hysteria, not every issue is earth-shattering."

Amen. I'm about fed up too. I'm supposed to feel guilty because the Repubs raised so much more than their Democratic opponent? If we learned anything in the last election it was that the millions that were spent to get Romney and many other Republicans elected all fell flat.

For all of the moaning that goes on about the evil that money effects in politics why then should we still pander to it? We need to spend more time devoted to actively participating in effective grassroots organizations that put out the types of messages that voters can understand and attach themselves too. Not merely dropping money in the bucket and walking away thinking we've done our share to make this world a better place.

"I'm curious - does anyone know if Republican, Tea Party and other right wing political organizations harass their subscribers in a similar manner?"

Oh I am sure of it Ronni. I get mailings surprisingly from the RNC occasionally using the same tactics that the DNC and Democratic candidates use through use of fear-mongering and making voters believe that the world is headed fore dire straights if the opponent gets elected.

But a review of campaign history actually reveals this has gone on almost from day one. The internet and social media have just made it so much more pronounced.

I am fine tuning my own form letter that I send to the the various political and charitable organizations that keep my P.O. box literally crammed with monthly requests for $$. Constant crisis mode causes compassion fatigue and it is truly a misuse of precious resources....theirs and mine. For one of the organizations that I support, I have offered the option of a yearly contribution contingent upon no monthly appeals for additonal $$--and it has been effective. Stay tuned!

Yes, a week full of stimulating, vital posts ... but, unlike you, I think most of your weeks are just like that, though some posts are definitely more fun or easier to relate to than others. (I deeply admire your preparation for and precision with posts on Social Security or Medicare, for example, but I can't connect with them as immediately as I do with other topics - since I don't live in the US.)
As for today's topic, HOORAY! I'm sick and tired of being made to feel "guilty" because I can't "help out" as much as they try to make me feel I should. And I'm sick and tired of seeing from ten to twenty requests (outright or masked) in my inbox every single day ... all "urgent", of course.

When sending a charitable contribution I always include a note that any solicitations rather than one annually will result in no future support. Any organization that prefers to waste contributions on paper and postage is scratched.In addition anyone who contacts me by phone for a donation is ignored. And yes, Republicans do like to robocall.

My wife and I always donate in the week between Christmas and the New Year. This produces the usual flood of irritating further requests in January. We then conduct the Purge (love that name), which reduces the flood to an irritating trickle, which we ignore until donation time comes round again. Of course, we sometimes can't resist during the year as well, but we only give once per organization in the off months. I'm also considering an alternate email address, but I'm afraid I'll forget to check it (an aging brain can only retain so much...). As usual, Ronnie, thank you another great column.

AMEN! Furious with all of them and their totally transparent begging!!

This has sure been a week of columns and comments that put out a multitude of opinions, feelings, ideas; sharing and learning from each other, as always. Is this a super community or what!
Our No.Cal. Dems are already flush (Feinstein, Pelosi, Brown, Boxer) and electable, so I'm thinking of giving to those I like from the fringe states. For charities, I give to small ones that each family member gets to pick out, as a Christmas gift. Mine has long been to individual American Indian groups. Other than that, I hand out what coins & bills I have directly to those now or near homeless.

I have not found unsubscribing working too well with the political spammers/beggars.
I have asked a few regular charitable organizations to send no more than one request a year or I'll just stop any contribution. Astonishingly that has been successful . I keep all requests in a file which I sort through in November and send my annual donation at that time.
CATALOG CHOICE kept my mailbox clear for several years, but the unwanted catalogs have bounced back with a vengeance. They go from mail box to recycle bin at once, as do most of the political pleas for money (under the pretense that they want my opinion on some issue or other).
And, being registered as Independent, I receive the pleas from all parties and PACS. (When they come with return postage paid envelopes, I send them back empty. Removing identifying markings.

I haven't read all of the comments. Has anyone a solution for the return address stickers?

My husband votes for one party, I the other one. We both get mail, email and phone calls.

My retirement planning did not include a line item for giving to even half the number of causes that request support regularly.

I just unsubscribed from every one of the political lists I could get myself off of, for precisely the reason that I'm fed up with being constantly dunned for contributions - way too many on a daily basis. With my new very demanding full time job, my 70 year old brain doesn't want to process all that inbox stuff in my limited "me" time.

Registered "Independent", I get paper mail from both national parties. Living in a red state, I am deluged by telephone calls and newsletters from all sorts of Republican office holders.

Even our universities are only interested in expanding their empires.

Greed is rampant everywhere.

Being from Nebraska, I feel that I no longer have any representation at the federal level. Therefore I send my meager pittance of a donation to congressmen (or women) from other states. So far I have not found their emails to be a nuisance, but rather informative.

You are definitely NOT the only person driven to distraction by those begging e-mails. Even worse is when you sign a petition or respond to a poll, whereupon a page begging for donations or exhorting you to get all your friends to contribute too pops up. ARGH!

I have preceded you down the path of simplification by unsubscribing from every single one of those sites. And interestingly enough, several of them refused to complete my unsubscribe for weeks.

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