Nonprofits, Please Stop Emailing Me Your Damn Holiday Wishes


Dear Nonprofit,

I just received your email wishing me "Happy Holidays." Yet since these "wishes" are just a thinly veiled request for money, and your email included a TAKE ACTION button at the bottom, I thought I would by hitting reply and giving you a little advice.

First, I don't even support your organization. So I have no idea why you are wishing me anything. As a matter of fact, I don't even remember signing up for your emails. So my first bit of advice for you is to build your email list organically with people who truly want to hear from you. Stop buying email addresses from companies that claim to know me but don't.

No, building your own list is not as easy as buying one. But I promise you it will be a lot more successful and effective.

Second, you might be a bit consoled that even if I did support your nonprofit and you sent me a digitally colorful and joyful "Season's Greetings", I still wouldn't appreciate it. I'm truly not trying to play the Scrooge here. But let me be clear. I wouldn't be supporting your nonprofit so you can send me holiday cheer.

If I wanted more empty well wishes I would invest more in my brother-in-law's hopeless business ventures. I'd be giving you money because I want impact and expect to see results.

As someone who gets several hundred emails every day, the ones you send me need to be useful, relevant and actionable. Frankly, you have no time for well wishes. You should be focused on getting shit done and sharing your impact with me. Life is short. Email well.

Finally, if you insist on sending me emails, I do have one small request. And I bet many of your actual supporters would agree with me on this. Use my name in your emails. Don't include a generic salutation or skip it altogether. Use my name, which by the way is "Joe." This shouldn't be a surprise as you emailed me at "". Did you think my first name was something else? Or did you just not bother to look?

If I supported your organization, I would at least expect you to know my name - especially if you knew what it was. I certainly don't think that is asking too much.

I hope you will read this email with the openness and generosity in which it was written. I plan to remain subscribed to your emails until I get your next one. Hopefully, it will be better than this one. If not, I will again "take action" and unsubscribe. As I said above, we have much to do and life is short.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season,

Joe Waters


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