The National Do Not Call Registry excludes nonprofits and political solicitation. Similar solicitations laws vary by state regarding the types of organizations that are included. You can remove yourself from solicitation lists, but it often requires that you contact the charity or political party individually. Political and charitable organizations run the risk of upsetting potential donors and voters if those people feel harassed, and will work to remove your name from their lists. You will likely have to contact multiple organizations to get the number of solicitations to zero.
Contact the Direct Mail Association and opt-out of receiving unsolicited mail. Ask the association to remove you from both non-commercial and commercial mailing lists. You can stop donation requests, although you will continue to receive political mailings. The voluntary list covers approximately 80 percent of the direct mail sent.
Read the fine print. Nonprofit organizations may sell and rent their mailing lists to one another. When you give donations, the organization automatically adds your name to the list, increasing its value. Appropriate industry standard is to include opt-out information on the donation form, especially when giving online.
Opt out when registering to vote. Each voter registration department is different. Some Boards of Elections give you the opportunity to opt-out of political mailings when registering to vote, but some do not. Read the fine print on your voter registration form.
Contact the organizations directly. If you do not fill out a donation form, include a note with your donation requesting that the organization keep your name off any future lists. If you have already made the donation, contact the charity directly and ask its staff to remove you from all solicitation lists. If you have already given to charity, you may be chasing your name around for a while, contacting every charity that contacts you. Do the same with political organizations. Start with the local office of each political party.
Check your state and local laws. The Federal Elections Commission prohibits the use of contributors' information for solicitation. However, different states and municipalities have varying laws regarding solicitations from local candidates. For example, residents of Las Vegas can download a form from the Clark County Election Department to keep their names from being released to political organizations. However, voters in California are fair game. Contact your local board of elections to learn about political mailings, and contact your state attorney general’s office to look into local laws regarding nonprofit solicitations.
Give anonymously. When you have tried everything else, give to the charity anonymously so they will not have your information to share with others. Contact the fundraising department of the charity that you would like to give to, and they will give you instructions on how to give anonymously.
- Charity Navigator: How To Stop Solicitations By Mail
- American Institute of Philanthropy; "Seven Tips for Reducing Unwanted Mail and Phone Appeals"; February 2001
- 8NewsNow.com; "Voters Tired of Political Mail and Phone Calls"; October 2010
- Federal Election Campaign; Sale and Use of Campaign Information
Wanda Starr has been writing professionally since 2001. She has years of experience writing marketing and organizational items for companies and nonprofit organizations in the areas of health, fitness, education, business and travel. Starr holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from the University of Maryland at College Park.