Postal strikes hit New Year charity appeals

By Robyn Rosen, September 24, 2009

Communal charities have blamed postal strikes in the capital for reduced donations to their Rosh Hashanah appeals.

Organisations large and small report that appeal letters have not reached their destinations. Supporters are worried that donations have got lost in the post.

Wizo executive director Alison Rosen said that its appeal for children at risk had been badly affected by the strike action.

“We’re very concerned our appeal has not reached everybody it was meant to. We haven’t had the volume of post back that we expected.

“We normally get thousands of responses. We do rely on it and it’s a large part of our income. This, on top of the recession, is quite a hard hit.”

The Nightingale residential home in south London sent out 12,000 appeal letters to support its dementia-related services. But executive director Leon Smith reported that postal problems had made it “a bit of a disaster. We put a lot of thought into the timing of when we send our appeals out but it’s all messed up this year.

“I’m concerned that people haven’t received the appeal and that we haven’t received the donations sent to us. Donations are significantly down on last year.

“At this time of recession, we are increasingly dependent on our voluntary income so this couldn’t be worse news for us. We’re now encouraging people to donate online instead.”

At international aid charity Tzedek, director Dan Berelowitz said that its newsletter did not reach donors until after Rosh Hashanah.

He said: “It means we have missed out on lots of exposure which is a real shame. It also means that donations are delayed.”

Jewish Care has experienced similar problems with its appeal for carers’ support, mental health and dementia services.

Marketing director Justine Harris said: “The postal strike has caused us considerable concern as it affected the mailing date of our Rosh Hashanah appeal. We are aware the backlog may well affect the response at a critical fundraising time for us.”

More than 120,000 postal workers are voting on a national strike over jobs and pay, with the ballot closing on October 8.

Last updated: 3:32pm, January 5 2011