Dec 29, 2009

Did I win or lose?

As mentioned previously, I no longer give donations to organizations via credit card over the telephone. The only exceptions will be for a couple specific organizations I am personally familiar with and have a relationship with.

Last night an organization called for a donation. Two, actually.

the first called and after going through her spiel, she asked how I could help them. I asked her to send me an envelope as donating over the phone is not possible for me. She graciously said thank you, took my details and hung up, despite knowing that most of the time asking for an envelope means they will not be getting much, if anything at all.

The second organization called shortly after. After going through her spiel, I told her she should send me an envelope, as I could not donate over the phone. She started arguing with me about it, how it is better if I donate over the phone. I didn't want to listen to her argue, and I did not see the point in arguing about how I should donate to an organization I have nothing to do with.

So I said to her "Ok, so don't send me an envelope. Up to you. Good bye." and I hung up the phone while she was still screaming at me. A minute later she called back and asked for my details to send me an envelope.

I am still not sure if I "won" or if I lost the argument.


  1. That's why it is better to give all of your expendable tzedaka to local organziations that you know, can see first hand and help in your community!

  2. The whole fundrasing game is problematic. A lot of organisations outsource their fundraising to call centers, who have to meet "targets" in order to be worth using. As approx 50% of "envelope pledges" are never returned, it's obviously better for the outsourcer to get an immediate donation that they can report in their figures.

    I also tend to be wary of giving out my ifo, etc., however knowing what goes on behind the scenes does give me more rachmanus if it's truly an organisation that I want to help.

    Ask them if they have a way of donating online; offer them to call you back the following night to check that you managed to donate; write down the link and do it that way - far more secure.

  3. I would have said that I don't give my home address to complete strangers who call me up and yell at me.

  4. Rafi, you won. You got what you wanted!

    Anon, it's true the poor of your community have priority, but it's hard to make a hard and fast rule about staying strictly local. There are organizations which may not be based in your community which still help people in your community.

    Great suggestion Shalom. In fact this happened to me 2 nights ago. I told her I can't give my CC over the phone. She was the one who suggested I donate on their website. I told her I would, and she asked me when I would do so, I assume to check up on me. I told her I'd do it right then, which I did.

    Yoni, I thought you were going to say if we would just give all our tzedaka to Kupat HaIr then we wouldn't have such problems!

  5. yoni - good response!

    shalom - I didnt even think of asking about donating online. Maybe next time.

    anonymous - Generally I do, but I dont like to turn organizations away with nothing. If they take the trouble to ask, I was raised to give something small at least and not turn them away with nothing. I wont give them my cc on the phone, as I have no idea who they are and if they are real, but while the bulk of my tzedaka goes local, a little bit does get distributed outside the community.

    wanna - I won because I got my way, but she got me to fight about how I am sending them a donation, not whether I will be sending them a donation..

  6. Wanna,

    Good catch! I must be off my game today. (It must come from not donating to Kupat Ha'ir.)

  7. I also request envelopes and I have one other requirement.
    I gently inform the caller that if an amount is filled in already when I receive the packet, it will go straight in the garbage.
    Why do they have no compunction saying, "You so generously donated $180 last year. Can I mark you down for the same this year?", when in reality, I didn't give to them AT ALL last year?
    Is lying for the purposes of tzedakah permitted???

  8. here in Israel they send you an envelope and you mail it back with a check. what kind of packet are they sending you that they are filling in the amount? a credit card form?


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