How Do They Do It?

Today I’m asking my smart readers to help me understand this because I know someone out there knows the answer.

How do some of the Christian and non-Christian organizations afford to send out some of the mail that they do? Tax deductions as business expense? Is that it?

You know those thick packets of mail you get from charities hoping you’ll send them a donation. Sometimes they contain address labels and such.

Yesterday, I got a packet from a very popular Christian women’s organization that I love (which is NOT a charity but a for profit business). I was excited, it was clearly a dvd. I had entered a contest a while back and thought I’d won something. I opened it to find a dvd and a “club” bill. Keep this dvd for $14 or return it. Return it without it’s case. Keep the dvd case (a normal movie case, not the slipcovers that are small) or recycle it. Um, okay. My first thought was, “how wasteful.”

Then I tried to find ways to give them the benefit of the doubt – something I’m working on when something strikes me as odd. Maybe the cases were donated? Free to the organization? Given by aliens. Hey, I cover all the possibilities.

So, now I have this dvd to remember to return and I admit, it sort of bugs me because I didn’t order it in the first place and they clearly used my mailing address from the contest I entered in order to send it.

What are your thoughts on things like this? How do they pay to send out materials like this? Is it a wise use of their resources? Should companies use your address to send you billable items from a contest? Did you receive one of these packets?

Yes, today, I am going to allow debate on this topic. Just be respectful.




  1. Absolutely not. That is wrong to send you an item you didn’t order along with a bill but even worse to take your address from a contest you entered in order to do it. Is this what the contest was for? Not really for giving you a prize but in hopes that if they billed enough folks, they’d make a bunch of money? Very dishonest in my opinion. And I am terrible about returning things so I’d end up getting billed for it.

  2. I got one too. From women of faith? I’m honestly irked about it. Didn’t order it. Don’t want it. Now have to go to the PO to return it. I’d like to know how they pay for this stuff too. Thanks for adding more to my to do list.

    • I hear ya! I’m terrible about returning things. I might have to go tape the return envelope to my steering wheel so I HAVE to do it next time I leave the house 🙂 LOL Sorry to hear you got one too. I wonder how many they sent out.

  3. Just send it back. No biggie.

  4. I’d be annoyed by that. You enter a contest to win something, not be billed. I’d send it back with a note letting them know I was not happy about it.

  5. That is weird. They sent a full size movie case and then told you to keep the case but send the dvd back? That sounds like a complete waste of resources to me and wasteful on top of it. I’m also terrible about going to the PO to return things. I think companies bank on that, knowing you will forget to send it back and then they can bill you for it. This strikes me as a bit dishonest.

    • That’s how I felt about it. Clearly, there is money to be made doing business this way or organizations wouldn’t do it. At least, that’s what I would think 🙂

  6. Who cares, get over it.

  7. Why do you really care how they pay for it? Does it matter? Just send it back. Yeah annoying. But not a big deal.

    • No need to be rude. She entered a contest and was sent a bill and an item to return. That’s not right.

      • I think we care about it because we are stewards of the resources God gives us. We don’t want them wasted. I think it matters because by understanding (which God said to get more than anything else) we can make informed choices about what is of God and what is of man in the world of ministry. Just to answer doodlebugs questions.

    • I’m just curious is all. If you donate to a charity, don’t you want an assurance that they will spend that money wisely?

  8. I like what you wrote about working on giving the benefit of the doubt to things that seem ‘odd’ or not right as I would think of it. I’m going to keep that in mind. I need to do a better job of that myself. Especially where I see it in other peoples lives and behaviors.

    As for the topic of conversation, I am old, so I have experienced this for a long time…getting unsolicited mail requests with small tokens or bribes to illicit guilt to ‘pay’ or donate to the charities request. I have also filled out one of those contest forms only to have my information sold to solicitors of all types with scams to sell me something, one of which I fell for and it was awful!

    I don’t let these ‘charities’ I use this term loosely, scam me anymore. I don’t let them make me feel obligated to ‘pay’ for their ‘gift’. They are wasting postage and time, and they factor that into the ‘cost’ of ministry. This is man made, not God made. God has the money to fund His ministries, and doesn’t beg from people. So I automatically know the difference between an anointed move of God and the ‘works of men’ that are labeled ministry.

    I shred the labels and throw away the tokens they send me. I sometimes donate them if they can be used by the poor. I feel no more unction to ‘pay’ or donate for the junk ministries send me in the mail.

    Hope this helps.

    oh, one more thing; forgive them and be more careful about everything you hear them say. We are trained by church leaders to ‘take’ everything they say as the gospel truth. Remember that Jesus wants to speak directly with you, not through a church leader to you. We have a brain, we need to filter everything coming out of the pulpit for ourselves, with Holy Spirits help.

    • Some great points, Dawn! I will feel no guilt returning the dvd. I don’t think the Women of Faith organization is evil but I do think this was a poor judgment call for them. We all make mistakes. I’m not going to hold this against all the good they do.

      • Was Peter evil when satan used him to tell Jesus he must not go to the cross? Jesus said to Peter, get behind me satan. none of us are beyond the grasp of deception and selfish ambition. both are evil though. I guess we need to separate the people from the demons that use them and recognize what is from God and what is not. You are giving them the benefit of the doubt that they just made a mistake. I see things in black and white, I need to be more merciful. But to me, what they do, what they all do, to ‘get money’, that’s just evil and of the world, as Jesus said, “you can’t love me and money.”
        still too harsh? or truthful?

        • All charities ask for money. Does that make them evil? Or love money? I guess that’s what I don’t totally understand. World Vision, Focus on the Family, KLOVE, and our local churches to name a few ask for money. I see what you are saying too. We can all be led astray. If this becomes a habit for an organization, it should be examined. If this seems to be the norm for them, I’ll forgive but not give any money. Definitely and interesting topic of discussion 🙂

          • That’s a good question you posed Melinda. Do charities need to ask for money. Well, what did Jesus model for ministry? He had a money box, and Judas, the one who never believed in Him and betrayed Him was assigned the task of keeping it and distributing it. Of all the gifts Jesus gave to His disciple Judas on got to manage the ‘unrighteous mammon’.
            Did Jesus or any of the 12 apostles beg for money? I don’t see a record of it in scripture. I also don’t see that Jesus paid tithes, nor did his disciples. Money boxes were set up at the doors of temples to collect gifts to be redistributed to the poor.

            Any ministry, church or person that begs for money to operate a ministry, that ministry is not of God, it is a work of man. Jesus told the religious leaders right to their face that they were the children of hell and the devil. God doesn’t need our money to fulfill His commission to us, to make disciples of all nations.
            Ministers of the gospel are given the instruction of how to minister from Jesus Himself. Matt. 10:5-32.
            Satan keeps us a ‘worked’ up and ‘doing’ the work of the Lord to distract us from the joy and peace and love that IS the kingdom of God, not ‘the ministry’.

            When God send a person to do something, He provides the means to do it with. I know many ministries who have fund raisers and have been approached and are funded by foundations set up to minister to the poor. They never beg for money or tell others that their ministry will not be able to continue if they don’t give money to it. THAT is not of God sister.

            Remember, wide is the road that leads to destruction and MANY enter by it, narrow is the way to life, and only a few find it. Just because it is popular in religion to beg for money for ‘ministry’ and miss quote scripture to guilt people into tithing, doesn’t mean it right or that it is the way to life.

            Hope I didn’t go over board here. sorry if I did. (smiles)

        • Thanks for being so willing to have an open discussion about this, Dawn! I so appreciate you 🙂

          • Thx Melinda, I need to talk through issues to get to the truth. I love to hear how others see things, and learn from them.

          • I’m the same way, that’s why I thought I’d put this out there to talk about 🙂

  9. What those people did to you, Melinda, was manipulation. We know that is not of God, but the evil one. You don’t have to go along with it.

  10. I had to come back and comment. I just got the same package in the mail from Women of Faith. What were they thinking? I don’t think many who receive this dvd are going to be happy either. I don’t think this is evil as Dawn put it, but i think it was certainly a poor decision on the part of the organization. Now I have to remember to return it too. We can help remind each other!

  11. I am not familiar with Women of Faith so I went to Google and it is not a charity, if you thought it was, it is a for-profit business. Their website does say it makes donations to but you can do that yourself. And I really like If you go to the “Gift Catalogue” you can “buy” something that is representative of what your donation can provide. Like a goat, for $75.

    Charities registered with the IRS must make their financial statements available to the public so donors CAN know where the money goes and how much is spent on salaries and administrative, etc.
    Kathleen recently posted..I created 2 jobs this week that didn’t exist before.

    • No, I know WOF is not a charity, that is why I referred to them as an organization. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Okay…. very interesting reading above. I received the same DVD from Women of Faith 2 days ago. I was surprised because I hadn’t ordered anything in a while from them.
    Here is what the law says:

    If you are sent something “unsolicited” in the mail, you are not required to pay for it or return it. Likewise, things of intrisic value such as notepads, greeting cards and return address labels may be kept without donating to the “charity”, unless you truly want to donate to that cause.

    Trust me, I work with 70 + attorneys. (I have been a paralegal for 33 years)

    I think it is wasteful also, but Women of Faith is not a “Charity”. They are a BUSINESS!
    i.e. here to make money, ladies!
    The fact theat we go to their conferences and enjoy their messages, buy their books and other goodies still does not make them a charity – period, amen!

    Enjoy the DVD, toss the guilt and when you are done with it, maybe pass it along to someone else.
    Have a very blessed day!

    • By the way… they didn’t even get my name correct, so I really don’t feel obligated to do anything with it, since there is no such person as “Marcy Hollmann”???
      : )

      • LOL at getting your name wrong. That is weird. And I know they are a business and I didn’t refer to them as a charity. Two differing conversations 🙂 Thanks for the info on the laws. I’m not going to worry about it then. And oddly, if you can remove the disc from the case to return it, what is going to keep folks from watching it first and then returning it. Or worse, copying it and then returning it? That’s kind of ridiculous.

    • great response!

  13. Melinda, I completely know how you feel. I use to get mail from this “ministry” and I haven’t any idea how they received my mailing address. Well, they would send me mail saying “If you want God to bless you, you must send us $30”. Or either they would send anointing oil and say to receive healing from it, pour it around your house and submit money to receive a miracle. It seemed so odd. I haven’t gotten any in awhile, but it’s a complete turnoff as you said.
    Ashley Ormon recently posted..Knowledge Puffs Up

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