It's what some would call smart marketing. Give a little and hopefully get something back.
Non-profits like the American Heart Association, Lung Association and The Salvation Army send out millions of customized mailing labels each year. Virginia Western Community College Marketing Professor Emily Brock explains how freebies stir a sense of emotion.
"It's called a weapon of influence where you might be able to have that heavy heartedness. To be able to say gosh, this nickel, this penny, this calendar, makes me realize that they really don't have that much and they're giving this to me. Maybe it's time for me to give back," says Brock.
Even in the days when traditonal mail is a dying industry, groups like the Chesapeake Bay Foundation which works to protect the bay says investing in lablels is so inexpensive the rate of return is worth it.
"The mailing labels no question are popular and seem to be the most successful in generating new members and a thank you for existing members so they are effective and we hope people enjoy them," says Chuck Epes, Assistant Director of Media Relations for the CBF.
The foundation estimates last year it collected nearly $2,100 from donors in the Roanoke Valley. It attributes that total in part to customized labels. March of Dimes, an advocate for preventing premature births, estimates by sending out labels and notepads, donars contributed close to 38 million to its campaign in 2012.
Here's one thing to consider, If you donate to one of these causes, the free labels and gifts will keep coming. Also, often times your name is put on a list for other organizations to see that you are generous which is why you are heavily targeted.