MADD Check Donation Ploy

I was sifting through my mail a few weeks ago and stumbled across this:

A solicitation from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) for donations that included a $2.50 check. I thought the check was fake at first, but the letter that came with the check stated otherwise:

Yes the enclosed check for $2.50 is real.

You can cash it if your choose, but I'm counting on you not to.......I am writing today to ask for your help in the Mothers Against Drunk Driving [Local] Annual Fund Campaign.

For some reason this check really disturbs me. I haven't given donations to this charity and if this the apparent way they use their donations I don't think I ever will. I am tempted to cash the check and give the $2.50 to my favorite charity instead.

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Comments (7)


I agree. Unsolicited checks of all sorts annoy me. This includes the "by endorsing and cashing this check you agree to sign up for our credit protection program. Your credit card will be charged $29 per month for the rest of your life"

Don't think of this as the charity using donations to give money away to people; it's simply a direct mail solicitation, no different from what any other charity sends to new prospects from time to time. The fact that it's a check doesn't really make this any different; the organization is counting on the fact that people won't actually cash it. It's just a marketing gimmick, not an instance of them giving away their donors' money.

While I'm sure there's an occasional low-life will go ahead and cash the check, that's a very small number of people, and to whatever extent that does happen I'm guessing that MADD simply writes that cost off as part of the overall expense of this campaign, which isn't really very different from spending money on printing and postage to send a traditional fundraising letter to people who've never donated before.

You should cash this check and send the money to an organization that will do some good with it. It's recently shown that madd uses less than 20% of their donation money on programs dealing with the problem that they are set up to help solve. Most of the funds they get go to paid fundraisers to raise more money...the rest of it is most likely used to lobby for harsher penalties without doing a thing to actually solve the problem. Think of the free taxi program you could set up with the $50 million they pull in each year. There are many charities that would take this $2.50 and use $2 of it for the purpose they are set up for. But if you let madd keep it, they will spend that same $2 on a combination of dinners for politicians and paying some person to send more checks like this. Oh, and don't forget the CEO's $150k + salary a year.

I bet the checks are funded by an insurance policy. MADD pays a (known) premium to the insurance company, which MADD writes off as a direct marketing expense. The insurance company shoulders the risk of a greater-than-expected number of people cashing the checks.

As you have already made a photocopy, you should print out the photocopy, go to the bank and cash the check, then go to your local gas station and buy a 40oz beer, and take a photo with the photocopied check and you holding a 40oz beer.

What is MADD expecting? They are sending out real CASH $$$. It's not my fault the marketing director(s) who must of been drinking or on drugs at the time they thought of this promotion decided to send out who knows how many $2.50 checks, "in hopes" that X % of them are not cashed. Sounds to me like that's a lot of wishful thinking.

I would be interested in seeing the long-term approach to that method as opposed to marketing without checks. I'd be extremely interested in seeing the overall cash-in, as opposed to cash-out difference between the two methods.

I'm assuming that the $2.50 check method brings in more money than other methods, or I should hope. Otherwise, this is just another reason I hate giving to charities, as they continually throw away there money on "ideas" that waste money of the individuals who give it.

I wonder how many of the mothers of MADD know about this current marketing scheme? I bet most of them wouldn't be happy knowing real checks are being sent out possible new "recruits".

A charity giving money to get more money? What a very odd way of convincing potential donators that their money will be put to good use.

Somehow you got on the list of drunk drivers that killed someone. MADD only sends these checks to people listed as such. How do I know? I was involved (and declared responsible) for a DUI accident that resulted in a mans death. On the anniversary of the accident, every year they send me this check to remind me (as if I could ever forget) of the accident and loss of life. I am poor so I can't sue them. I hope you are rich and sue the bejesus out of them. Hope this helps.

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