Friday, November 7, 2008
October is Over, But Don't Forget...
I got a call just before we left for South Carolina last week from a "telefundraiser". You know these souls because they start the conversation very nicely, but are always on script. They tell you about how Firefighters are good people, wouldn't you agree? Only an asshole would disagree, so you say "yes, of course." And they say, the why wouldn't you want to support them with a donation. They try and guilt you obfuscate their real intention, which is to raise money for themselves.
The person on the other end of that line, chances are, does not give a shit about Firefighters or Breast Cancer Awareness. They just need a few bucks and this job pays a few extra bills. You see, the dirty little secret of the TeleFundraising Industry is that most of these organizations are raising money for themselves and not the organization that they are calling for.
Let me explain; The young girl that called last week says that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She would like to know if I would like to pledge a donation in the amount of $25, $45 or $100. Um, I don't just give someone $100 that has my phone number. If you send me your literature and I check your Organization out, then I can decide if its worthy of my charitable giving. She says that she can do that, but would I like to pledge a donation amount for the materials. I say that I shouldn't have to pledge anything to get the information that is needed to make a prudent decision on wether to give to the Organization or not.
I ask her how much of the contributions go to the actual cause. I remind her that its state law that she has to disclose this information if its requested. She says 10%.
I told her that wasn't good enough, have a nice night.
You see, if you are savvy enough and not caught off-guard by that phone call, you can discern who is yanking you and take appropriate evasive action. 10 percent is a dismal amount to pass on to the organization that is doing research. That means for every dollar you give, 90 cents goes right into the pocket of someone you don't know that doesn't necessarily give two hoots about your cause. You are better off giving 11 cents to that cause directly.
A great way to make sure that your money is going to a good cause like Breast Cancer Research is to buy the Breast Cancer Stamp at the Post Office. It costs more than a regular stamp, but all of the extra proceeds go toward the cause. Every penny. There is no middle man, certainly not one that would take a 90 percent cut.
Here is a link to a web site that has some great advice on dealing with these telefundraisers. Go there, read it and use it the next time you get one of these calls.
Charity Navigator - 6 Questions