Charity marketers have been accused of adopting the bombardment techniques of scam mailers after it was revealed one Bristol pensioner receives nearly 300 direct mailpacks a month asking her for donations.
The claim follows a report by the Bristol Post, which highlighted the case of 92-year-old Olive Cooke who receives up to six mailshots every day from charities, rising to nearly ten a day during the peak Christmas period.
Some have come from charities that she has given one-off donations to in the past, asking for her to set up a monthly direct debit but others are from charities she has never donated to before, although given her propensity to donate Cooke’s name must be one hundreds of databases.
Cooke told the Bristol Post: “I usually get around six bits of junk mail every day but I am starting to get more because Christmas is coming. Now I am getting around eight to ten every day.”
In one month alone, Cooke received 273 mailings from different charities. She added: “I have always donated to charity and I only use my post office pension for my water bills and all of my direct debits to charity but as I am getting older, I have been told I need to start cutting back.”
“I think the elderly are targeted with this sort of mail on purpose, as charities think they have lots of disposable money or they might have donated in the past, but receiving so much is overwhelming. And it’s not just post, there are also lots of phone calls that come through.”
One industry source told DecisionMarketing: “Do charities really want to be tarred with the same brush as the scam mailers and be accused of preying on the vulnerable? Admittedly this is a difficult situation as this lady has obviously showed a propensity to donate in the past and is not on the Mailing Preference Service.
“But she is obviously not responding to 300 mailings a month, so some of those charities must realise that she will never respond. It makes you wonder what sort of data strategy these organisations have in place, and how many times they will target the same person before realising they are no longer a prospect.”
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