How Many Trees Are You Celebrating @arborday?

The Arbor Day Foundation is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1972 that seeks to “inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees“.

I received a “Colorado Tree Survey” from them today, part of what is a never-ending stream of snail-mail spam that I have written about before. For this envelope, the thing that caught my attention was the weight of the envelope.

To say that it was heavier than other junk mail would be an understatement. In fact, it was well over 5x heavier than most of my junk mail including the ones that send small pads of paper and mailing labels.

That’s right, it came in over three pounds. For Arbor to presumably send these out to at least hundreds of thousands of people in Colorado. It’s fair to say that took quite a few trees to produce not to mention the general carbon emissions required to produce and distribute. This seems to be at odds with their general mission purpose especially in the age of email.

Given that 23.4% of their income is not spent on program expenses it is discouraging to say the least. To put it into better perspective, over six million dollars went to administrative expenses and their CEO Matt Harris made $336,445 in 2019. Considering that $961,603 of their income came from government grants that year it is really frustrating to see nonprofit entities spend money on such salaries and waste money on killing trees to conduct surveys about celebrating trees.

If I print this blog out and mail it back in place of the survey, I wonder if they would appreciate the irony.

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