Save a tree, save money -- stop the mailings! Image by M. Gustafson Gervasi, 2013
When a client decides to make a bequest to a non-profit in his or her will, a smile is guaranteed to emerge on my face. What a lovely way to plant the seeds of a legacy, and you don't have to be millionaire to make a difference (the theme of my upcoming book). Such a smile made an appearance on my face earlier this year when a client, facing a terminal diagnosis, took his belief in stewardship and named a list of nearly 40 non-profits he had supported during his lifetime.
Stewardship was his motivation; carefully overseeing the distribution of his final estate. Sadly, my smile has faded. Not only did this kind man loose his battle, passing away quite quickly. Many of the non-profits he listed have poured a jaw dropping amount of literature into my office. Some have been via email, but most have been hard copies.
Yes, contacting the attorney who informed the organization of a bequest is reasonable. But sending glossy brochures and acting as though said attorney can now funnel an endless supply of clients into their sights is not keeping with the stewardship my client had in mind. I'm a lawyer, a frugal one (I even write another blog about the upside of frugal living), and would love non-profits to wake up and see that all their paper is doing is making people ask "how much did that cost?" and mutter, "I certainly hope I didn't pay for that mailing!".
Non-profits -- you do numerous great deeds, but please, oh please, think before mailing. Please do not blindly enter names and addresses into databases. An attorney notifies you of being mentioned in a will, we do not recruit for you. Save a tree, save money, save your reputation, and mail only when necessary.
And now I am going to sort through today's pile of mail.....who wants to make a beat on the number of pieces generated by my steward client?