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Jul 8, 2009

Today's Bad Idea of the Day: Having an idiot solicit donations for you

I am not going to identify the organization referred to in the post below. They are a good and important organization, and I do not want them to be harmed inadvertently by anything written here. They will therefore remain anonymous.

I received a phone call yesterday from someone soliciting donations for an organization. This is an organization I have supported in the past, and continue to support.

Many organizations have similar names, and play on that to solicit donations from supporters of other organizations with similar names, playing on the confusion based in the similarity of names. I have heard of this happening, and aside form my general dislike of donating over the phone and not really knowing with whom you are actually talking, the frequency in which I have heard of such situations (wrong orgs collecting your money intended for different org), I just about never donate over the phone.

So this person calls asking for a donation. I support the organization, so I told her that I support them and will give a donation to a volunteer. She has on record that I support them, so she knows she can either send someone to me to get a check or send an envelope or however else it would work out. I told her I do not donate over the phone and would give my donation to a volunteer. She said thank you and that ended our conversation.

This morning she called me back. She spoke very harshly that I should donate through her over the phone. She started bad-mouthing the volunteers saying that it has happened in the past that volunteers have forgotten to pass donations along to the main office, and other things about how the volunteers should not be collecting money (even though they are regularly used in that capacity). She said I have donated in the past so I have nothing to worry about and I should not give to the volunteers.

I was shocked that she called me like this. Aside from her tone that she was using when speaking to a [potential] donor that was a very big turn-off, I thought it very inappropriate for her to be bad-mouthing the volunteers of the organization she is working, and collecting, for. Heck - if the volunteers are such bad people, why would I want to donate money to them at all???

The thing is that I know the organization and I still want to make my meager donation to them despite her bad attitude and inappropriate comments.

I told her that I very much dislike her calling me like this, especially after I said I do not donate over the phone, and insisting I donate over the phone. Furthermore, I find it completely inappropriate for her to be bad-mouthing the volunteers, who I have found to be extremely dedicated to the organization. I told her I dislike what she is doing and i will no longer talk to her about this. Then I hung up.

The organization is really good and important. I think this person is an idiot, but I will continue to donate despite her.


  1. Something sounds unusual. Try to investigate.

    I never give donations over the phone.

    I've never had someone in an organization badmouthing anyone else in the same organization. That's just not normal.

  2. you should let the organization know.

  3. maybe she gets commission .....and really needs the money

  4. You should let the organization know but I am sure that it is a commission thing. On past occasions when i used to donate over the phone (after calling back), the people on the phone would always say "make sure you ask to speak to me personally" because that way they get credited with the donation and make their commission
    I remember a couple of years ago it was found that one organization (I don't remember which) would spend over 70% of your donation on overheads (including these commissions)

  5. I was going to leave a comment, then I thought it worth my own blog entry...

  6. Sorry, I messed up the link: here it is again...

  7. You should let a higher-up know about this. If she did it to you and it annoyed you, the same could be true of other people and they might not be as forgiving.

  8. As mentioned, she will be working for a commission - which is probably her entire salary. When you give the donation to a volunteer, you are inadvertently "robbing" her of her commission. The whole saga of fundraising is a murky, nasty one, with may organisations outsourcing their fundraising to call centers who neither know or care about their organisation. Personally, I used to avoid telephone donations like the plague; would request an envelope then would erase the initials that would be on the envelope. Of late,I have begun to understand the business a bit better and have more rachmanus on the callers who have a very hard job.

  9. Shalom, be careful that your rachmonus doesn't lead to you being ripped off. See my blog post (linked above) about why I think you should never give your CC number over the phone to an unsolicited caller.

  10. I normally don't like robbing anyone of their commission. they work for it, no reason they should not get it (even though I prefer more of my money go to the org I am donating to). But when she is rude and talks badly about th eorg she is collecting for, that kind of messes things up

  11. Shy Guy - I've never had someone in an organization badmouthing anyone else in the same organization. That's just not normal.

    What? Are you saying that you've never been a member of a shul (an organization) or on a shul board? :-)

    Or a school organization or school board.

    Or any organization having to with politics.

    Or a Vaad Bayit organization.

    Or ....


  12. Isn't she a volunteer herself? If her attitude is not to trust the volunteers... why trust her?


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