Monday, July 09, 2007

As I mentioned before, I honestly do make an effort to donate to charities that I find to be worthwhile. But here's the rub - - I never, ever give money in response to a telephone solicitation. This is for a couple of reasons: 1. I don't want to encourage telemarketers; 2. I don't want to give out personal information over the phone; 3. I want the opportunity to research the charity to confirm it is legitimate; and 4. It gives me a ready out when I do answer such a phone call, and so inform the caller. No telemarketer will waste his or her time talking to you if they won't get to rack up a "sale". And I refuse to give a dime that will be used in part to pay a commission to any telemarketer.
I give money automatically every month to the ASPCA, yet received a phone call last week from a woman who described herself as a professional fundraiser. I noted that I already give each month, and she responded, "yes, dear, that's why I'm calling you now". Do they really believe that the way to thank me for giving regularly is to have a professional fundraiser call me at home? That the only thing keeping me from increasing my donation is the convenience of doing so by phone? I asked to be removed from the call list.
Greenpeace has been calling me on my home office phone literally every day for weeks. When they called twice on Sunday, I finally answered the call, declined to donate, and asked to be removed from their call list.
My favorite calls though or by imaginary charities that incorporate the words "police" or "sheriff" into the made up organization's name. At first, when listening to one such caller, it sounded like they were soliciting funds for a camp for disadvantaged children. I said that I would not donate by phone, but would consider their cause if they sent me information by mail. He said they couldn't afford to send out a mailing unless I agreed to give a minimum donation in advance. When pressed further, they weren't raising money for camp; rather, they were raising money to pay for the costs (what costs? copying flyers?) of having law enforcement officers go to schools to remind kids to "buckle up". I declined to donate.
I later received another phone call from the same organization, and was in an ornery mood. I decided to challenge the poor woman on the validity of the charity. She claimed it had been around since the '70s, but couldn't identify a single police or sheriff's department that participated, nor even identify any California County in which any of the charity services were provided. This time, they had expanded their goals from that fabulous "buckle-up" program, to also supporting law enforcement officers who serve as mentors to troubled kids. With all due respect, what are the costs associated with a man or woman donating his or her time? When I served as a mentor through the juvenile court system, I didn't receive financial assistance, nor would I expect to. Are they giving each cop 5 bucks for hot dogs at the park? Not surprisingly, she couldn't tell me where a single such program is in effect.
Their latest ploy? Now they are seeking money to support the families of fallen officers. ("Ma'am, did you realize that 110 men and women have been killed in the line of duty in the last 25 years?") Hello! Why wouldn't I just give the money to the "Family of Officer Smith Fund"? Why would I give it to this guy on the phone, who asked not for me, but for Ms. X, probably the next surname down the row in the phone book. When I said he had the wrong number, he responded "that's ok, I'm sure you can help me".
Add on the 5 solicitations I get every day by mail, and I wonder . . . do they realize that they are on the verge of biting the hand that feeds them? That I am coming to believe that no good deed goes unpunished? That I want to help and support worthwhile causes, but they are driving me crazy?
Sigh . . . . thanks for letting me rant . . .


Blogger sage said...

Rant on! I generally cut them off in midsentence saying something quickly like, "Not interested," then "click"

10:18 AM  
Blogger LA said...

I'm totally with you on the police/sheriff scam! I had a similar experience. I told them I would only make a donation if they would send me literature I could review. The guy actually got belligerent with me. He initiated the call and yet would not give me ANY information I could confirm independently that they were legitimate. Yet he still wanted me to give him personal information like my name and credit card number? NOT! And any police officer of sheriff deputy would tell you to hang up on that scam.

12:45 PM  
Blogger NY KAT said...

Charity is a wonderful thing, but you are absolutely right about people asking for money over the phone. Luckily I don't get many calls like that.

4:06 PM  
Blogger M-M-M-Mishy said...

I refuse to donate via phone or people who solicite to my house. If I believe in the charity, I'll donate online or phone them myself. And no information on the charity or where my money goes equals no donation.

I think your rant is right on.

4:35 PM  
Blogger GetFlix said...

Don't ever donate over the phone. Period.

7:18 AM  
Blogger EditThis said...

Great rant. I can't tolerate telemarketers and usually take care of them the way Sage does.

10:10 AM  
Blogger v said...

Great rant. And the police/sheriff scam seems to be going around. Very suspicious stuff.

I agree with everyone else, never donate through a phone solicitor and always research the organization if you are unfamiliar with it. And for the phone solicitors, always make sure to ask them to take your name off their call list. Not only because they will call you again, but they also sell these lists to other telemarketer types. There's also the National Do Not Call list if anyone is interested (do a google and a wikipedia search).

6:39 PM  
Blogger MaggieT said...

I totally agree. Never donate over the phone, when it is unsolicited

5:56 PM  

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