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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tele-Solicitation Experiences

Aishel relates a recent experience. The kitzur: an organization calls and asks for a pledge. He tells them, we don't pledge over the phone and that if they want him to consider their organization they need to send him information in the mail. What happens next: an envelope with the amount of the "alleged pledge" arrives in the mail.

This has happened to us too. It is dishonest and it is highly counterproductive since any organization that does this will never receive a penny from us. I imagine that this happens because those in the call center are provided with some incentive to do such.

Here is a recent experience of my own which really got under my skin because the telemarketer stated my pledge to the person who answered my phone which is highly personal, invasive, and completely unprofessional (fortunately, the person on the other end was my mother and not the handyman, but it really doesn't matter!):

There is an organization that calls nearly every week and I have told them repeatedly that I do not pledge over the phone and that we tend to keep our money local, but if they want they can send us information about their organization through the mail.

Not once have we received information on their organization , and the conversation ends promptly. Turns out that when I was gone from the home and my mother answered another one of their calls that she was asked where my check was because I had pledged $36.00 (can't send a payment without an enevelope, but I think they really want my credit card over the phone-I wasn't born yesterday dear call center out of Brooklyn somewhere).

My mother couldn't remember the name of the organization. But, thanks to Called ID, lo and behold, I was able to determine it was the same culprit organization that calls nearly weekly.

Well, my toddler is obsessed with answering the phone, so when I see their name on the Caller ID, I let him answer the phone. Let's just say that the conversation ends quickly. I have NO interest in dealing with this organization ever again.


This method of solicitation should have been filed under the Do's and Don'ts of Solicitation as a big "Don't." Have you had these types of experiences?

21 comments:

Ezzie said...

Never quite that bad... but any place that is obnoxious over the phone like that simply will never get anything from me.

Grammar Nazi said...

low and behold,

I think you meant:

"lo and behold"

SephardiLady said...

Oops. Correction made.

aishel said...

Thanks for the link :)

RaggedyMom said...

I am TOTALLY going to have to steal your idea about having toddlers answer the phone to those repeat offenders!!

SephardiLady said...

Be my guest Raggedy. I'm sure RaggedyAnne or Andy will make you proud.

usually a jblog lurker said...

What I find even worse because it happens more often (I get maybe two telphone solicitations a month but about two of these a week) are the robocalls from organizations informing me of some program they are having. If they had a way to drop from their phone list, I'd not mind but they don't. Invariably, I am in the middle of something, get the robocall and then have to recall where I was.

RR said...

"Well, my toddler is obsessed with answering the phone, so when I see their name on the Caller ID, I let him answer the phone. Let's just say that the conversation ends quickly."

I love it!!!

Iris said...

Someone I know just puts the phone down on the counter and walks away. Takes them a while to figure out that there's no one there.

On the other hand, to truly get them to go away, you HAVE TO SAY "Put this name and number on your do not call list." Then just hang up. If they keep calling, ask them for a contact number so you can report them for continuing to call after being given the previous statement. That usually works

Ariella said...

I think that non-profits are exempt from the fines of do not call lists, though I haven't really checked that out. I have the same situation. It was bc of one very aggressive caller for a major Jewish organization who insisted that due to the high cost of mailing, she needs to put an amount down, though we can take a year to pay it. This was followed by numerous "bills" for the donation -- so much for high mailing costs. Now, no matter what it is, and we get calls from nonJewish charities, too, I say we don't pledge over the phone. I don't urge them to mail me info, b/c I don't mean to imply a donation. We have the tzedakas that we prefer to give to.

Anonymous said...

What about the charitable groups that send out unsolicited cards, photos, pamphlets, books, tapes, or CD's and then follow up with mail describing the object sent earlier, to insinuate that you now owe them something?

RaggedyMom said...

Anon 2:07 - RaggedyDad has been in America for almost 10 years and still can't get over those "gifts". Those put me into such an awkward position - I don't want to encourage more pamphlets and tapes by responding. What's the answer? Return to sender? Call the organization and ask not to be sent any more "our gift to you"s? I think the message I'm getting here is not to be afraid to be more direct with organizations. I've asked over the phone for the percentage of a donation that goes toward administrative costs.

aishel said...

I think that non-profits are exempt from the fines of do not call lists,

Calls for political endorsements and charitable organizations are exempt from the Do Not Call list.

SephardiLady said...

I know some of the gifts have made me feel obligated, especially when we really enjoy them, e.g. the Artscroll Illustrated Megillat Esther.

But, I'm told that there is no obligation to donate (or return the gift). So, I guess you could say keep 'em coming, but don't expect anything in return since we are still sending our money where we always intended to all along.

Also, when organizations that we do donate to send a gift and envelope, we don't give our gift through that campaign. It is just my idealism (glad I have some), but I don't want the organizations to think they need to spend to get our donation. I'd love to see a day where nearly 100% of the donations went straight to the cause, rather than to vendors to entice us into donating.

Anonymous said...

I use this site (which I am in no way affiliated with) for my non-local giving:
http://www.just-tzedakah.org

For people who are disorganized, like me, it's a good way to give the charity you want with an array of charities available. I could never keep track of envelopes and getting out all the checks, etc. They do charge 3.5% which I think is reasonable considering the credit card fees and the fact that the alternative usually means fundraising costs which can be astronomical.

DAG said...

I've made such fundraisng calls. WE have stories too. I called one house. It turns out I know the poeple, but they didn't recognize my name. I did my pitch she hemmed and hawed, knocked something over and told she was in the process of moving and couldn't talk. I happned to know they were not moving.


Almost daily after aksing for Mr X I hear voices introducing the call to dad, dad replying to tell the caller he's not home, and the orginal voice asserting that Mr X is not home.

I've also had young children (6 or 7 years old) TELL me that neither parent is home.

Trust me that we get our laughs off of some of the things people say to us. Outside of that, Tzedaka telemarketing is really a hard, thankless job.

I never force people to pledge. I follow with a letter, when appropriate. The response rate to such letters is small, but I don't see a better way to do direct solictation.

SRosen said...

FYI, this is not unique to Jewish charities at all.

I get calls from the local fire dept with the same pushiness. I simply tell them to send me an envelope, but they clearly are not satisfied with that result.

Keep in mind, many organizations hire professional telemarketers who make a percentage of the money they bring in. Therefore, it is certainly to their advantage to be pushy and raise the intake for that charity . . . and their own bottom line.

Ariella said...

I get the same, srosen, from the policemen's organization.

Anonymous said...

I too will not donate money if the envelope arrives with a letter thanking me for my pledge. Another pet peeve of mine - tzedaka organizations that are 501(c)(3) registered (you can look this up on the IRS website). I screen the tzedaka letters I receive for this and not all are 501(c)(3) registered and many are not.

Honestly Frum said...

If it is an organization from outside of my neighborhood, (and it is generally a more right wing institution) I ask them to donate to B'nei Akiva or to my kids Yeshiva and I will match their donation to their organization. It gets them off the phone very quickly.

SephardiLady said...

Welcome Honestly. I wonder if I can teach my toddler that trick. :)