Dear donors, please don't do this — do this instead!

March 26, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Faith Danforth/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Here's a sampling of some of the recent items we've received here at headquarters from supporters. Photo: Faith Danforth/Mercy Corps

Dear donors,

Every day my heart is touched by your overwhelming generosity and desire to help! Some of you go so far as to box up goods that you think might be useful, and send them to us here at our headquarters.

Please don't do this! Here's why: we can't use such small amounts of stuff, and the cost of shipping alone is more than the cost of the goods.

It is much more helpful for you to send us the money you spent on the stuff and on the postage to us as a cash gift.

Please do this!

Eighty-eight percent of your cash gift will go directly to support our work in the field. We'll be able to purchase 10 times as much stuff with your U.S. dollars in other countries, we won't have to pay for shipping — or spend staff time on logistics — and we'll be able to buy exactly what we need. Sometimes we do buy soap, but often we buy shovels, or sanitary napkins, or shawls, or calculators — all kinds of stuff, depending on what the local community needs.

I know that giving cash can feel cold, or somehow more distant, than sending stuff. But when you send us stuff, you're actually just helping folks in the Portland area, since we end up donating it to local relief charities.

Thank you so much, because your generosity helps us reach people in need. Just see the pictures of those we're helping in Haiti recently — all of that has been made possible by your support.