Hello? Hello?! HELLO!!

Have you experienced those annoying calls that when you answer the phone and say “hello” there is no one on the other end?  So you say, “hello” one more time.  Then there is a pause….until the disembodied voice comes on the other end and you realize you’ve been hood-winked by a computer dialer for some sales pitch.  Ugh.

This happened to me last night.  It was some solicitor calling for the Police Survivors Fund or some such group.  It was their annual fund drive and the man on the other end of the phone wanted to know if I was willing to contribute to the fund so all those family members left behind to manage life without their loved one can carry on with financial support.  Get me a tissue.

I asked the gentleman, “Sir, what organization are you with?”

“I represent the Policy Survivor Fund.”

“Oh really,” I replied?  “My question wasn’t who you represent, sir.  It was what organization are you with?”

He replied, “I am with ABC Marketing.”

“And sir,” I asked, “how much of a percentage of the funds raised does your company keep before giving the balance to the Police Fund?”

He wasn’t ready for that question!  “Uh, I’m sorry.  I don’t have those figures in front of me ma’am.  However, I can give you the phone number to call to get those figures.”

My quick reply was, “Oh no.  That won’t be necessary.  The fact that there are figures at all tells me that your cut is too big!  Good-bye.”

Dear Readers, when you receive solicitation calls like that, always-always-always ask who the caller represents.  If they are professional solicitors hired by the non-profit organization, ask them what their percentage cut of the total dollars raised they get to keep.  Then determine whether you want to contribute anything to the non-profit.  In my opinion, it is always better to give your donation straight to the non-profit.  That way they get to keep 100% of your gift.  Not 90% or 80% or even 50%.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 01varvara
    Dec 09, 2007 @ 14:18:45

    Mark me down as Ms Scrooge. I have got to the “Bah! Humbug!” stage. No, I have not reached the “Are there no prisons? And the Union Workhouse… ” stage yet. Although, another solicitation call may indeed get me there…

    Vara

  2. Meg
    Dec 08, 2007 @ 12:49:46

    That’s a good point, I hadn’t thought in terms of charities using a professional fund-raising “machine” to do their dirty work for them.

    Generally, I prefer IOCC, which has so many matching grants that your donation, in whatever amount, is multiplied *ten times over* (my priest says it’s even more than that). Another good one is Disabled American Veterans, which has been rated by some charity-rating outfit as one of the ten best to give to, because they have one of the lowest overhead costs — probably because the people who do their soliciting *are* disabled American vets.

    Other than that, I retain a healthy dose of skepticism. Too many hands out at this time of year; if you gave to all of them, you’d end up giving a dollar to each. (At least with IOCC, that would become ten or twelve dollars…)

  3. David
    Dec 08, 2007 @ 05:00:36

    Actually, I stop them mid spiel and tell them I have my giving planned for the year, period.

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