Smile Train donations
"Make one gift now and we'll never ask for another donation again!"
If you receive a solicitation in the mail from any charity that makes the above promise, you would be wise to be skeptical. No donor should ever feel obligated to make a contribution in order to not be solicited.
A fed-up donor contacted AIP to let us know that she had asked, a charity well known for its ads of children with cleft lips and palates, in September and November of 2009 to remove her name from its mailing list. In early December of the same year she received a letter with Smile Train's promise that in exchange for a contribution they would cease further solicitations to her. So to get the charity off her back she sent them a contribution-yet she continued to receive Smile Train solicitations (one more in December and two more in April 2010) despite notifying Smile Train of her wish to be removed from their list each time she received a solicitation. Rubbing salt into her wounds, this May she received another solicitation with the same offer to not be solicited.
AIP contacted Smile Train regarding its policy for donors who do not wish to be solicited. Michele Sinesky, Donor Relations Manager at Smile Train, told us: "It is our policy and our practice to remove all names from both our acquisition file and our retention file as soon as we receive a request from a donor… When we receive a donation from a donor who receives a 'once and done' solicitation, we add a mail code that guarantees we will not solicit them again." She adds that since Smile Train's mail solicitations are produced several months in advance, donors sometimes receive additional pieces before the mailings are stopped.