Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Who knew that Kmart was doing so much to help the March of Dimes?

I was pleasantly surprised to see the headline "Kmart Marches Into 28th Successful Year of Helping America's Babies". I had no idea that Kmart and the March of Dimes had such a longstanding relationship. Over the course of 28 years, Kmart has raised $98.7 million for the organization, which goes toward prevention of birth defects, prematurity, and infant mortality.

Kudos to Kmart. Even with some of its own financial struggles, it has still managed to be a good corporate citizen and raise funds for a major foundation.

On a side note, I do not support the March of Dimes in many of their fundraising techniques. A couple years ago, a coworker of my husband suffered a stillbirth, and we wanted to do something to honor the baby. We made a donation to the March of Dimes in her name. Within 2-3 weeks, our mailbox was inundated with requests for donations from charities, including many we had never even heard of. There were an average of around 10 requests per day. Now, we have been giving to charities such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association for years, and never had this type of onslaught. It was pretty clear that the March of Dimes had sold their mailing list.

Since then, we have been receiving regular requests for donations from the March of Dimes almost monthly, though we have never donated another penny (and don't plan to). Some of these requests are marked with red "Second Request" stamps. This really angers me. It seems to be a trick designed to prey on the elderly, who may think it is a bill or a commitment they have made. This tactic is dishonest and fools people into making a donation.

For these reasons, I do not donate to the March of Dimes, though they do good work and provide important programs. I just can't support their tactics. If you rely on support for your research from a foundation, I suggest that you examine their fundraising strategies. If they are going in a direction that may backfire, you might find yourself looking for other sources of funding.

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