About a week ago, I made a small donation to the Williams Annual Fund. Because I am a class agent, I was supposed to do this months ago, but I got around to doing it last week. Fine. A few days later, I got a form letter from a Williams athlete — one of my former teammates, in fact — thanking me for my generosity. Two days after that, I got a slip of paper in an envelope thanking me and confirming that I had made a tax-deductible contribution of such-and-such amount. Then today, I got a handwritten note from someone in the alumni office thanking me for my donation.

Gosh! Three separate mailings? The cost in postage, if I may be so crass as to talk about money, exceeded 10% of the value of my donation. In this time of cost-cutting and belt-tightening, I would expect Williams to perhaps not send so much paper in the mail. On the other hand, perhaps they just want to express a lot of appreciation because they know money is tight nowadays. (Incidentally, I made all my donations to my alma maters at the same time, and have gotten 0, 0 and 1 acknowledgement in the mail from the other three.)

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