Combined Charities volunteer workers last fall came across a donation of $17 carmarked for the Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Having had experience with jokers, they labeled it just another gag and consigned it to the unallocated funds.
Recently they found it was not a joke. Apologies were made and $17 was mailed quickly to the Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State; but this isolated incident still underlines shortcomings of last year's Combined Charities campaign. Nobody set up a standard to judge what were and what were not legitimate allocation requests. Hence the Drive workers were forced to spend time handling semi-political donations as well as performing their main charity function. Pressed for time, counters were unable to contact personally each donor who had an unusual request, and slipped up in a few of the cases where they made personal value-judgments.
The idea behind the Combined Charities to save the student from constantly having to ward off solicitors and allow him to take care of all his charities in a few minutes--is an excellent one, and does not have to result in complications. Those in charge of the soliciting next fall should do two things. Above the space on the donation blank for unlisted charities, they should state that only gifts to genuine charities will be handled. Then, if any gags or impossible requests slip through, the donor should be consulted personally before his gift is added to the unallocated fund. The reputation of the Combined Charities Drive is worth this added care.