One of the first "column writing" techniques Bill taught me was to watch for days when the mail pipeline brings in several letters from groups with similiar interests.

Today, fate and the United States Postal Service decree that the emphasis will be on bowlers, bridge players and women's groups.

But there were many others, too. Fortunately, concerned and helpful District Liners who are the core of Bill's readership did not desert me.

Before we get into the details of today's receipts, you might be interested in an overview: We are keeping pace with last year's dollar totals.

However, as we've noted before, keeping pace isn't good enough. Because of inflation, we must do better.

Our campaign has a golden tradition of 30 consecutive annual increases in the amount contributed to provide free medical care for needy children.

As always, the fund drive will end on Jan. 31. That leaves me little over a month to accept contributions and report on our progress. Let's hope the pipeline remains full for the entire month.

And now let's put the cordless abacus to work on those bridge groups, women's clubs, bowling leagues and other friends of needy children.

A $15 contribution came from the members of the Women's Discussion Group in Beltsville. Also sending $15 was the Metro Toastmistress Club. A team belonging to the Columbian Ladies Bowling League upped the ante with their gift of $17. A check for $18 arrived from the McLean Grand Slammers.

Five groups contributed $25 each, beginning with $25 from the keglers of the Honey Bees Bowling League. Sending $25 in memory of a member who died recently were the hopefuls of the Future Pros Bowling League. Another $25 was received from "the ladies of Unit 67, Ladies Auxiliary Fleet Reserve Association." The card sharks who cut and deal under the name "Brown Bag Bridge Club" added their $25. And the fifth $25 contribution was sent by the members of the Washington Ladies Auxiliary No. 58, Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.

Members of Southdown Women's Club of Edgewater, Md., helped with a check for $28. Sending $29 were the people who form the Greenbelt Community Church Women's Discussion Group. Tenpin enthusiasts of the Fort Belvoir OWC Bowling League gathered $30.27 at their Christmas party. A group that calls itself "The Little Old Ladies Bridge Club" added $35. Three dozen members of the West End Ladies Bowling League contributed $36.

The Community Women's Club in Fairfax collected $50 for the hospital. A $51 check was received from members of the "Monday Morning Loafers Bowling League." Where do I go to sign up for membership in the MMLBL? Lord knows I qualify.

The spouses who bowl in the Adjutant General Officers' Wives Bowling League sent $64 to help provide medical care for needy children.

Quite coincidentally, all these gifts were more or less in the same dollar range, so it was easy to follow our pattern of mentioning contributions in an ascending order of value.

And now that we have reported on the card players, bowlers and women's groups, let's take a look at some of the other contributions that turned up in today's mail.

Employees of the Division of Organization and Personnel at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission contributed $70. Another $70 check was received from the folks at the Data Systems Division of the National Weather Service. The message that accompanied their check was, "May all your Christmases be green -- with money for Children's Hospital. Keep up the good work."

Four groups chose $75 to represent their desire to help Children's continue to aid needy youngsters as well as provide Our Town with one of the finest pediatric facilities in the nation. An informal band of carolers raised $75 in a Vienna neighborhood. The Youth Group at St. James Chruch in Bowie collected the same amount, also by singing about the joys of Christmas. A $75 check for Children's was sent in honor of the employees of Wilkinson, Cragun and Barker. And the good people at the McLean branch of Mount Vernon Realty chipped in the final $75. They saved that amount by not exchanging intra-office Christmas cards.

These 23 organizations sent the shoebox a combined total of $953.27. An additional $2,444.18 was sent in by 74 District Liners. In this space they are always "anonymous" individuals, but I have a feeling that when the roll is called up yonder, they will be duly recognized.

Our total for the day was not very high, as you can see: $3,397.45 as I tally it. Inasmuch as the shoebox held $76,950.98 at the close of business on Saturday, we now have $80,348.43 for the free care fund. Please help it increase.

Send your check, payable to Children's Hospital to: Scott Chase, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW. Washington, D.C. 20071.