How to Manage Tzaddaka Mailings

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    We get many mailings every day asking for donations. We like to give tzaddakah, but it is hard to find the time to respond to each one. I would like to know how everyone manages this without hiring a secretary. My husband saves them all but hardly has any time to write all these checks. Today I found appeals from last chanukah on his desk buried in there. I have to admit I have started tossing them out. my husband doesn’t let me write the tzaddakah checks, so it just doesn’t get done. Anyone else find these mailings a little overwhelming?


    Yes, very overwhelming and always making me feel bad that I am unable to help each one out. However, after speaking with my Rav, and a lot of soul searching, we realized that our priority rests within those closest to us and that is what we do. Starting with our family and moving out to our Shul and Yeshivohs (that we have connection to), local tzeddakahs and to the teddakah’s that have great meaning to us. After that if I still the means we send a few dollars to help out. As a rule we generally don’t do phone solicitations and ask for them to send a mailing.

    just me

    I generally give to organizations that I know are real and to my own yeshivos. There are some organizations that my husband and I support so I give to those. I feel bad about just throwing out other tzadaka letters but I can’t give to everyone. Many people try to give at least $1 to everyone. Some one once told me that her father worked in a yeshiva. When they got checks for only $1, they threw them out because it wasn’t worth the work and what the banks took. I was a bit annoyed to hear that so now I either give $10 or up or I don’t give at all. When I get a letter signed by a prominant rabbi, I usually throw it straight out. Not that I don’t hold from the rabbi, but you don’t know if it is real or not.


    I understand the need is very great, I always feel so guilty throwing out the mailings. I have noticed now that they are sending me appeals from Israel. And my daughter who came back from sem got on a list and now they are sending her appeals also (what money is she making when she is a student?) It’s gotten to be too much for me to handle, and I am very annoyed that my husband’s desk is COVERED with this. Did I write that I took them all and threw them out? I cannot take this mess any more. It’s baal tashchis for them to do such mass mailings to all these lists, I think most of us throw it out and they get just a few dollars, it has gotten way out of hand.


    I weed the letters out based on what the cause is, what my mood is, and how recently they asked for money.

    I also try to give money to organizations that my family members who died gave to (my great aunt was very involved in Shaare Tzedek in Israel, so I donate in her memory when I can).

    I also try to give organizations for food. Thats the most important to me. For Rosh Hashanah, I donated groceries and meat in Israel (I think the organization is called Mesamchei Lev).

    When my son was born, I donated a year worth (money wise) of formula/baby stuff to thank Hashem for the healthy baby I have. I also recently gave to a tzedaka that helps couples with fertility treatments because I had an easy time getting pregnant.

    I dont give to Kollels. There are too many important places out there that need my support, and a guy learning in Kollel can go out and get a job. He is much lower on my list.


    There is an organization in Israel called Olam Hatorah online at Olam Hatorah has compiled a database of Torah and Chesed institutions in Israel so that anybody who receives Tzedaka letters can verify who is sending the letter and what they actually do with donations.


    Today, ith desktop publishing, anybody can call hiumself a rav or make up a story about a sick family or a wedding. In our community, because it was getting so out of hand with people coming to the door, we did what many have done. Anyone wishing to collect door to door must go to one of the rebbeim in town and present their credentials. If it checks out ( i.e the yeshiva is real and the person is actually authorized to collect ) the collector is given a letter of approval. It has cut down the traffic considerably since many,particularly who had only well-worn photocopies of letters from yeshivos were not legitimate. One collector was not even Jewish but dressed and spoke the part. So, I agree with just me. I only give to those organizations that I recognize and that I know are real.

    The Big One


    You miss out on a MAJOR Zchus by not giving to Kollel. Torah learning is what is keeping us alive. I’m sorry to hear this. Hopefully you will see the err in your ways soon.


    The Big One-

    Well, at least she gives to other worthy causes. Personally, I think giving to kollel is more important than giving to Shaarei Tzeddek. But to each his own. As long as we are giving. My husband wrote out a big check just now for hachnosas kallah to a reliable Rov/friend that we trust, may it be a zechus for my family. tzaddakah tatzil memoves. Just I feel bad I don’t have the $, time, or patience to respond to all these mailings!!!


    to the Big One,

    In giving to Kollels, I make the following distinction. I ask the kollel if they only admit those who are the cream or do they admit anyone , regardless of ability or talent. I give to the first, not to the second. There are more pressing needs for Tzedakka than to suport someone who wants to sit and learn but has no talent for it. I’m not saying that that person shouldn’t sait and learn, just that he shouldn’t expect the community to support him.

    Feif Un

    I have some organizations I support, but the majority of letters I get don’t get responses. I simply don’t have the money to do it. I donate to Bonei Olam whenever I can, and that is the main tzedaka I give to. There is a kollel program (I don’t remember what it’s called) that tests kollel guys on their learning, and pays a certain amount for a high score. I give to them because I know the money is going to guys who are really learning, not just in kollel because it’s the “thing to do”.

    Here and there, I’ll give to some others also.


    Before this turns into an anti-kollel screed, I think that all of us know someone in kollel who we feel belongs there, or who needs help. How about adopting an individual? (And check out your relatives first, you never know who needs help.)


    The Big One: I prefer giving food to people to live. To me, people need food first. Learning in Kollel is a luxury (although people dont always want to admit it) and I have no problem with Kollel! I just dont think thats where my money needs to go. If someone is in Kollel, then their wife should be supporting them. If she cannot, then he should get a job. Its not a situation where they NEED my money, its a situation where they WANT my money. Need comes before want in my opinion.

    Shaare Tzedek is a hospital that does a lot of good for people. My Great Aunt was a big donor and I feel like to honor HER memory, its important to donate to causes that she felt was important. Its not specifically my first choice either, because I like to make sure food is on the table first.

    just me

    Hey, let’s not argue about priorities! There are many diffierent legitamate tzadakahs (nebach that we need them) and they all need support. If everyone only gave to yeshivos, you would have a large gap in other places. If everyone only gave to places that gave food, or help people in some physical ways, the ruchnius would suffer. As long as you give, it’s good.

    SJSinNYC, I also prefer to give first to places like Tomchei Shabbos. I feel if I have food B”H, then so should others. My husband has other places where he likes to give so we give to both ends.

    I do like Tzippi’s idea of adopting an individual kollel family. This was you know for sure it’s going to someone who you feel is worthy. Does this sound like Yissuschar and Zivulan? Hmmmm. What a great, novel idea!


    Just me, this post was about how to manage tzedaka mailings – one way is by PRIORITY. That was my only point.

    Personally, I know a lot of people in Kollel who start out wanting to learn and then kind of get stuck for a few years because they have no training in anything else. So a 2 year stint in Kollel turns into 6-7 until they can get their act together. Should I really divert tzedaka money from poor people to someone like that? Let him bag groceries at shop rite until he can figure out what he wants to do – not leech off the system. Of the 2 people in Kollel who I think are great learners and really should be there – one I sometimes give money to, the other has terrible middos. So while I agree he is a great learner and has unbelievable potential in terms of being a real Torah scholar, he hasnt seemed to internalize anything he has learned…so I refuse to support him. When I donate money for things like food, I know its going directly to people who need food and that makes me feel better (yes I realize plenty of kollel people get food from these programs).


    Throw them out.


    GMAB: “Throw them out.”

    Yea who cares about people and their needs when there is a steak on the table that needs to be liberated…..(oops my bad, too late for her I guess.)


    gmab, Thats what we all do with the junk peta, greenpeace, the sierra club, etc. send us.


    I do throw them out, but very guiltily. We still do give plenty of tzaddakah, my husband has a good friend who he highly trusts and respects who collects for hachnosos kallah, so he just gave him a big check, and last night he gave to another person who was collecting for the poor. But he has no time for all these mailings, and it just accumulates on his desk. I just did a major cleaning of his desk and it is better for my sanity to throw them out then land up collecting dust.

    lammed hey

    Have a couple of funds to which you always give (Tomchai Shabbos is for food and a major priority, also local causes). All the other “Tzedaka” letters are not opened and get filed directly into the circular filing cabinet 🙂

    This way they don’t back up.


    Shindy, why doesn’t your husband let you write checks for tzedakah?


    I also feel guilty about throwing out envelopes but we feel in is more important to give closer to home. we also have a no phone policy however when someone does call i request a pushka as soon as its full i send it in. we also only use one pushka at a time that way one group gets everything and we dont have twenty diff organiztions that are half empty. when its full we send it off and bring down the pushka for the next organization. kol pruta v’pruta shava


    I live in Israel and I know of many causes that seem to be up your alleys — all of you — in which I am personally involved in.

    1) kollel in which a group of learning avreichim learn with working men.

    2) tomchei shabbos in which the organization gives chickens to the families for shabbos and yom tov

    3) kuppa shel tzeddakah in which poor families – including single parent homes – receive money for food and basic living expenses

    If you are interested in donating to any of these causes – I can help you make a donation, or send you more information about the organizations mentioned above. All donations are tex deductible in the US


    jewishfeminist02, My husband wants to pay through the computer, he has a service that mails payment, without the postage.

    KollelguyinEY, I must tell you the golden medinah (USA) is not so golden anymore. What this will mean is that you will get less funds, and it is a terrible matzav. The tzaddakah organizations over here have been really aggressive about fundraising. I just don’t know what is going to be.


    Today I got a letter from Eretz Israel. The man describing his financial situation and asking for help. He also included a letter of recommendation, signed by R. Meyer Brandsdorf. The date of this letter caught my attention – Tuesday, 11th of Cheshvan 5675. Today is year 5771. Out of curiosity I converted this Jewish date to English date and I got – Shabbos, October 31, 1914.

    I hate do not trust people, but it is hard to trust this letter


    If you want to stop the mailings this what you do:

    Each request comes with a response card and a return envelope.

    Cross out your name on the response card and write: Please take my name off your list.

    Place in the return envelope. DO NOT WRITE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ON THE ENVELOPE.

    If the envelope DOES NOT have postage, the organization/agency will be charged the postage which is usually double the going rate for a stamp. You become a liability not a potential donor.

    If the envelope HAS postage send anyway. They will read your note and remove you from their database.

    Nice. No. Effective. Yes.


    If you want to “adopt” a family there is an organization called Keren Eretz Yisroel/”Project Mishpacha – you give them a set amount every month and it goes straight to your “family”.


    When our daughter returned from seminary she started getting all these letters asking for tzaddakah. Our Rov said that since she lives under our roof she does not have to give them.

    When you send to seminary the girls get on these lists.

    Now I am getting lots of automated phone calls at night, be the lucky winner, press one to enter. I guess it’s cheaper than sending out mailings.

    basket of radishes

    I feel you should open and give a cursory glance to any letter that is from a new or unrecognized source. It may be a charity you wish to support. But that said, its easy to manage them.. Just file in the trash and decide your charatible giving in your own choice interests at the time you wish to give.


    We cannot be all things to all tzedakas. I give where I can, and will NEVER pledge on the phone any dollar amount. Just today alone I received 8 phone calls for separate tzedakas. I received two letters in the mail from the same mosad, addressed to the two of us as a couple, each with a different amount “pledged” and I do not pledge, I only say send me an envelope and I will see what I can do.

    Don’t feel bad for nto giving. Just resolve to give generously when you can.


    I too throw out all these PR letters who buy my name from lists, especially when I note names of g’virim that are on the “committee”. However, I keep all “gifts” and s’farim which are sent along with the purpose to induce me to give money; this is as Rav Moshe zt’l paskined since these come unsolicited.

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