How to circumvent PETA's manipulative direct-mail fundraising tactics.

Advice on how to make the world better.
June 2 2010 10:10 AM

Save the Mails

How to circumvent PETA's manipulative direct-mail fundraising tactics.

Do you have a real-life do-gooding dilemma? Please send it to Ask.my.goodness@gmail.com

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How to escape? Don't have a phone. Don't buy anything by mail. Don't subscribe to any magazines. Don't donate to charities. That was the advice from Alan Sharpe, author of Mail Superiority: How To Run a Profitable Annual Direct Mail Fundraising Program. PETA, he said, defines an ideal prospect and then seeks where to find that potential donor. One likely scenario is a search for dog and cat owners in big cities. The lists can be sliced even finer. A list broker who preferred to remain anonymous told me he could quickly pull up 1,000 Boomer-aged Americans of Finnish extraction who own dogs weighing more than 35 pounds.

And, surprise, surprise: Children are not exempt from the marketing push. Petakids.com targets your daughter's age group directly, and peta2.com seeks out animal lovers from 13 to 21. "Don't think about younger donors strictly in terms of money raised," Joel Bartlett, assistant director of marketing at PETA, told an audience of fundraisers recently, "It's not about what you can squeeze out of them today, but about beginning and cultivating a lifetime of giving."

—Constance

Do you have a real-life do-gooding dilemma? Please send it to Ask.my.goodness@gmail.com

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Constance Casey is a former New York City Department of Parks gardener and writes the monthly "Species" column for Landscape Architecture Magazine.