Readers React: Don’t judge a dead man’s values by the charity solicitations he receives in the mail

Cards and letters.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

To the editor: I enjoyed Amy Koss’ account of the charitable solicitations that her father has continued to receive long after his death.

She describes a plan randomly to donate to some of those charities that have continued to write him, presumably assuming that her father had once deemed each of these causes as worthy. Bad assumption.

I receive many, many calendars, return address stickers, postage stamps, greeting cards and other items from charities to which I have never donated — indeed, to which I have never contemplated donating. There is clearly some back channel for sharing addresses, presumably involving some charity or cause to which I do donate, or some organization to which I do belong.

I only hope that upon my death, my friends and relatives do not conclude that being solicited says anything about which causes I have actually supported (any more than receiving a catalog says anything about where I have actually ever ordered anything).


Margaret Gatz, Los Angeles


To the editor: The “helpful postal worker” Koss spoke to about marking returned mail “deceased” did not give her the full story, apparently.

First-class mail will be returned to sender if the addressee is deceased. Third-class and nonprofit mail, which most solicitation mail is, doesn’t include return postage in the price and simply gets recycled if it is not deliverable.


Save yourself and your mail carrier some time, and put a stamp on the letters if you ever want the sender to see them.

David Corbett, Anaheim

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