I just sent the following email message to Mark G. Ackermann, the President and CEO of Lighthouse International:
I am taking the unusual step of writing to you because my efforts to get this issue resolved “through channels” for over two years have failed.
In a nutshell, I have asked Lighthouse International to remove me from your postal mailing list six times since October 2007. Since my first request, you have sent me eight mailings, the most recent received yesterday, November 25.
I’ve attempted to contact your organization once through email, twice by fax, twice through messages enclosed in your business reply envelopes, and once by filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. None of my attempts to contact you has been acknowledged or responded to. Since I just received another mailing yesterday, they’ve apparently simply been ignored.
My wife and I maintain a list of the non-profit organizations we support. We donate to the organizations on our list in order as our finances permit. Mailings from organizations already on our list are simply ignored. Well, that’s not entirely true… when an organization we’ve asked to stop writing to us ignores our request, mailings from them make it less likely that we will donate to them in the future.
Sending mailings to people who have asked not to receive them is bad for the environment because of the resources consumed to produce and transport them; it is a waste of your organization’s money; and it is disrespectful to your donors. Completely ignoring repeated attempts by one of your donors to contact you is also extremely disrespectful and unprofessional.
My wife and I do not support organizations which damage the environment, waste their money, and disrespect their donors. Therefore, I have removed Lighthouse International from the list of organizations to which we will donate in the future. I have also posted a copy of this letter on my popular consumer-advocacy blog and urged my readers to find a different charity in your vertical to which to offer their support.
I just noticed this small print on the back of your most recent mailing: “We respect your privacy and preferences. If you would like to receive fewer or no mailings from us in the future, please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com.” I can’t even begin to fathom how an organization which has ignored six mailing list removal requests sent over the course of over two years can possibly claim with any honesty that it “respects the privacy and preferences” of its donors.
It is worth noting that a complete inability to handle unsubscribing people from their mailing list is not this organization’s only problem with bulk mailing. I also had problems with them back in 2007 when they added me to a bulk email list without my consent and it took several requests over the course of several months to get them to remove me.