We’re all in the thick of year-end prep, so here’s a fun ‘Trivia” blog post to distract you for a few minutes.

Did you know that missionaries started the “annoying” tradition of chain letters?

In 1888, a Methodist women’s missionary group was having cash flow problems. They were $16,000 in debt after rehabbing their building.

The head of the congregation Lucy Rider Meyer drafted a letter that contained both a solicitation to send her one dime and to send a copy of the letter to three friends, who would (hopefully) repeat the process.

They raised $6,000 — and a tactic was born.

Chain letters turned scammy during the Great Depression, when scammers urged letter recipients to send money to a list of names  — with the promise that their own fortune would come when their turn arrived in the queue.

These types of chain letters warned of severe consequences if someone didn’t participate.

Can you imagine writing this sentence in your 12/31 appeal? “Donate now or you’ll have major bad luck in 2017.” No matter how crazed you are by this year-end, that’s not a tactic I’d recommend.