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Not Feeling Too Charitable

The following is a transcript of a letter I am going to send to a particular charitable institution, with a few italicized editorial comments.

The Canadian **** Foundation

To whom it may concern

In late June, I was contacted by one of your telephone solicitors, who thanked me for my past support and asked me if I would be willing to support you again. I agreed and made a pledge, although I did then point out that I had noticed on my last year's tax return I had actually made two donations, and that it was usually my custom only to make one a year, particularly as the sum was comparatively large. I was pressed almost bullied to make my payment immediately by credit card, although I informed the solicitor that I would prefer to wait for a pledge form and send payment by cheque at my own convenience.

Since then, I have incurred some extra expenses that have made it difficult thus far to honor my pledge, although I had every intention of so doing please note the past tense. In the past month, I have received not one but two reminder letters, and last night I got another phone call, insisting that I honor my pledge by credit card right away. I believe the phrase used was "settle your payment over the phone" - as if this were a debt that I had incurred and the phone call from a collection agency. I understand that to you the pledge campaign may be a matter of urgency; I have a strong, demonstrated, commitment to charitable donation in general and to your charity in particular, but there may be other expenses for me that are of more immediate concern vet's bills. property taxes. I had your pledge form in my "in box" awaiting attention and had every intention of honoring it.

However, your aggressive tactics have made me change my mind about my commitment to your cause. Last night, the caller made the pitch that there was some need to "balance the books" at the end of the fund-raising campaign. Perhaps it will help you to balance your books and remove myself from any "obligation" to you if I cancel my pledge. Please remove my name from your telephone list and do not contact me by phone or mail again after next month, I can take legal steps if you do.

Yours with no love

Intertext

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
chickenfeet2003
Aug. 14th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
The fund raising firm involved is probably incented on how much it collects within a given time window. Hence the 'eagerness' to close.
lidocafe
Aug. 14th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Sad. I know the kind of pressure you speak of. I give regularly to eight groups and this increases the pressure, but I stay away from the disease groups as they are the most ferocious. Ironically, this may be because they get the most donations, are the biggest organizations, and thus have the funds to hire and pay fulltime solicitors.
intertext
Aug. 14th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
I support quite a few others as well, and most are really good about calling only once a year, not sending extra mail solicitation and so on - for example, they send you a form where you can check off what you will or won't allow. I've only given up on a charity once before; it was a political/social group whose phone tactics became extremely aggressive (ironically, given the cause).
gillo
Aug. 14th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC)
Terrific letter. How annoying and upsetting for you, though.
(Deleted comment)
sartorias
Aug. 14th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
If you cc a lawyer, it will be even more powerful.
egretplume
Aug. 14th, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC)
I would put in the part about being able to take legal action after a month.

I get annoyed with the ones who send frequent junk mail. Every time I think, wow, couldn't you have used the money you spent on this mass mailing to further the cause/help the problem?

I hardly ever get calls because I give them my work phone number, so they get my work voicemail.
intertext
Aug. 15th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's exactly how I felt about the letters. And, no doubt, they are paying the people manning the phones.

The "legal action" after next month is a Canadian reference - we have new legislation coming in September that specifies that someone is not allowed to call or solicit in any way if you put yourself on a "do not call" list. Registered charities are to some extent protected - they can still make unsolicited calls, but have to remove you from their list if you ask them to.
brinian
Aug. 14th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Good letter. I've had one of those conversations with an organization lately. Ironic really since the issue with my charitable giving this year is that MY medical bills are enormous and the org in question is soliciting on behalf of people with HIV/AIDS. You'd think they'd get it when you explain the situation.

Just yesterday I was accosted in the street by a woman who demanded a donation to help feed homeless and hungry people. Since that is one of my job functions (well housing them, but I often help out my sister org and the church where my office is, both of which do feeding), I told her I literally give at the office. She wouldn't take that as a valid reason not to give money to her on the street. And she had no ID or other identifying info to tell me where the $$ were going. I got quite annoyed, looked her in the eye and said "NO" as I walked away.

I have problems asking people for money for work....I think I know why!
lidocafe
Aug. 15th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
Once I had a guy soliciting for the firefighters whatchamacallit, and he was really persistent. And these folks are nothing compared to credit card hawkers. This is why call display made my life so much better. I find the people on the street (Greenpeace and SPCA, e.g.) not particularly aggressive, and I don't mind them as much, since I am in public, not at home.

I wish the government would use my tax money to fund research and social services instead of giving itself huge raises.
intertext
Aug. 15th, 2008 01:55 am (UTC)
One of the things that really pissed me off about this guy yesterday - you know how often the soliciting money calls have this long pause while the computer kicks in? Well, usually I hang up immediately when that happens, and I did that last night. The phone rings again 30 seconds later, and it's the main fund raising guy from this charity, saying, oh sorry about the delay; that's caused by our computers. And I said, yes, I realize that, that's why I hung up...that's when he launched into his "oh you promised us money and we haven't got it yet" routine.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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