S(p)ending Money to Make Money
There's a lot of money in the mail these days. Over a period of about six weeks, I racked up $4.65 in cash and checks from nine different nonprofits. Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge sent a quarter, and Soldiers' Angels mailed a dollar bill. I also received a $1 Council of Indian Nations check, and the National Humane Education Society sent me a check for two bucks. Both nonprofits assured me in the first line of the letter that the check is indeed real … but they hope I won't cash it.
It's your nickel
The remaining 40 cents arrived mostly one nickel at a time. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) each sent me a nickel, attached to a sheet of address labels. They all phrase their messages slightly differently but use the coins to "make a point." The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society says the least about the nickel, but it's still central to its offer from the "How can 5¢ save a child's life?" envelope teaser to the "Let me tell you …" headline inside.
In lieu of a letter, the center panel of a sheet of address labels has a short note that says in part, "You and I both know that a single nickel won't go far in the fight against blood cancers. But nickels can quickly add up. And if you invest those nickels in blood cancer research that is searching for cures, you could save not only one child but thousands of patients!"
A few simple sentences say it all, and combined with the cheerful cartoon characters on the labels, this nickel offer looks like a winner to me.
VFW and PVA both address the value of a nickel. "When you and I were growing up, 5¢ seemed like a lot of money …" PVA's lead read, "… and it's still an invaluable amount to a veteran suffering from a spinal cord injury. Let me tell you why …" VFW writes that "a simple nickel is inspiring people across the country — caring Americans like you — to help our nation's war wounded." Both organizations ask for $15 gifts followed with "(that's 300 nickels)," and both do an excellent job of describing what that $15 contribution can do: "match the VA allocation for about six days" and "provide 375 minutes of phone time to a hero who desperately needs to hear comforting voices of family."