Charities - Pissing Me Off in Whole New Ways

Saturday, December 12, 2009
I try to be a charitable person. I donate money to various do-gooders. I knit cold weather gear for those who need it. I prepare jam for a local Meals-on-Wheels program. We donate our lightly used goods.

However, I'm typically not interested in giving my money to any charity that I haven't had an opportunity to research on my own. I have my own set of criteria on which I base my giving decisions, including the percentage of their budget that goes to program costs, whether or not they address a need that's important to me personally, if they provide services in a non-discriminatory way, and how much of my current charity budget is available. These criteria are why I won't give money to The Salvation Army or to the Women's Bean Project, even though they both do good work, and why I do give money to Planned Parenthood, even though their fund-raising staff should probably be arresting for stalking. There are far too many charitable organizations fighting the good fight who meet all of my standards for me to compromise and donate my money willy-nilly.

Which brings me to the "pissing me off in whole new ways" thing.

We're on the "do not call list." That means solicitors are not permitted to call us and try to sell us their worthless shit and crappy services. Unfortunately, charitable organizations are exempt from the "do not call" list, as it negatively impacts their ability to generate charitable contributions. We've had the same phone number for almost eight years, and that means our number has found its way onto every charitable calling list on the planet.  Everyone calls us wanting our money. Organizations I've never heard of. Organizations I wouldn't support if I had heard of them. Organizations that I've heard of but are diametrically opposed to my point of view. Organizations I might be inclined to support if they weren't annoying the fuck out of me by calling me every two weeks begging me for my support. None of them get my money, because I haven't had a chance to research them on the criteria I find important. It doesn't matter how many times you call me, ARC and Cerebral Palsy - we're not giving you our lightly used goods. Not because you don't do good work, but because we donate them to an organization that means more to us.

Here's a clue, charitable organizations: If you call me every month, and every month I say "no thank you," then continuing to call me every month for years on end begging me for money is not likely to end in the result you want. Your call center agent is wasting their time, and you're paying them to waste their time. I know enough about analytics to know that you should be deleting unproductive numbers from your call list rather than letting them suck up your scarce resources.

So recently I've decided to help these charities. Every time they call the Big Yellow House and ask for money, not only do I say "no," I tell them to take us off their call list. This move will save them time and money by not using their resources on a non-contributing number. Right? Wrong. Based on their reactions, you'd think that "take me off your call list" is actually secret code for "I kidnap babies from the local Kindercare and roast them over an open fire to meet my tasty, tasty Bar-B-Que needs. Won't you like to come over and join me?" Like asking them not to call my home, invade my privacy and interrupt my free time is somehow reprehensible, and I'm a bad person for making this perfectly reasonable request.

Hey, charitable organization call center agent! Guess what? I'm not a bad person. I do give to charity. I try to support my fellow humans when they need it. I'm a TAX AND SPEND LIBERAL, for fuck's sake. I just don't want to contribute to your employer. And your attitude is really starting to piss me the hell off. So the next time I tell you to take me off your call list, just do it and keep your holier-than-thou attitude to yourself, won't you? And then maybe I'll invite you over for some tasty, tasty Bar-B-Que.
____________

Updated 3:27 p.m.: Sweet irony. After this post was auto-twitted, I received the following robo-reply:
LifersENT @Janiece65 Help raise teen violence awareness for teen violence by donating  http://bit.ly/75fcff
Because really,  why WOULDN'T I donate my hard earned money to some random charity that auto-bots me on Twitter?

#FAIL

12 comments:

neurondoc said...

Janiece--I feel your pain.

Charity caller: "Hi, I'm calling from the ___Charity. We would like..."

Neurondoc (interrupting): "No thank you. I am on the Do Not Call List for a reason."

CC: "But we are..."

ND: "I do not donate to people who solicit over the phone. If you call again, I will be sure NEVER to donate to your organization."

They ALWAYS call again.

Carol Elaine said...

Mmmm, tasty Kindercare BBQ...

What? I said I don't eat animals. I didn't say anything about roasted Kindercare.

But yeah, being obnoxious isn't going to get me to donate to your charity, jerkwad.

It's amazing how many people don't get this concept.

Eric said...

Help raise teen violence awareness for teen violence by donating

So, wait, I don't understand--are they for teen violence, or against it?

Jake Lsewhere said...

What, exactly, do you have against the autobots, are you some kind of decepticon sympathizer or something? ;)

Janiece said...

Eric, I was wondering the same thing, but I'm too scared to click on the link. I might be supporting TEEN VIOLENCE if I do.

Welcome, Jake. You're right - I'm a discriminatory kind of gal that way.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

"Is this Philip?"

"Who's calling?"

"We're from the fund for..."

"Wedon'tdoanythingoverthephone EVER." (hangs up)

Dr. Phil

Nathan said...

Some guy rang my doorbell a couple of weeks ago soliciting for something or other. I told him I'd consider it if he left me some literature.

He said, "We don't have anything in writing".

I said, "Guess I can't give you a check then. They're done in writing".

Steve Buchheit said...

"Can you send me literature?"

"Sure, how much can we put you down for?"

"No, I really want to review your literature and research you first."

"Well, we can't send anything unless you pledge."

"Thanks, bye" (click)

Warner (aka ntsc) said...

Babies are better stewed or poached.

I'm curious as to your objection to the Salvation Army. They are the only religion I know of where you don't see fat minister driving late model Cads, or these days BMWs.

I find door to door far more objectionable.

WendyB_09 said...

I've had an unpulished, unlisted phone number for over 20 years and have been on every do-not-call list since they started them.

So the conversations usually go like this...
Me - Hello
Charity Ho - Hi, I'm calling for
Me - how did you get my number?
Charity Ho - the Bunny Protection
Me - Stop. How did you get my number?
Charity Ho - I have to read my script.
Me - No, you need to answer my question. How did you get my phone number?

If I'm lucky, they hang up at this point. If they're feeling frisky:

Charity Ho - I don't know, it came up on my screen.
Me - Well as I've never heard of your outfit and I'm on the donotcall list, take my number off.
Charity Ho - But we're a charity, we're allowed to call.
Me - Well, if you can't take my number off your list, let me speak to a supervisor please.

Again, if I've intimidated the caller enough to think they're going to get into trouble if they let me talk to the supervisor, I'll hear a satisfying click.
Then again...

Stuporvisor - I understand there is a problem, How may I help you?
Me - I want to know how your firm got my phone number.
Stuporvisor - It was on our system.
Me - I'm on all the DNC lists.
Stuporvisor - But we're allowed
Me - Not what I asked.
Stuporvisor - But
Me - What is the full name of your charity?
Stuporvisor - the Bunny Protection League
Me - Fine, and is there a direct number I can call to reach them?
Stuporvisor - Yes, 1-8XX-BUN-EARS
Me - thank you. Now, I need you to permanently remove my phone number from from your system.
Stuporvisor - We can't do that.
Me - Fine. For the record - since I'm pretty sure this is being recorded - This is an unpublished, listed number on the state and national DoNotCall Registries and you have just violated my privacy. As soon as I hang up I'm calling this charity directly as well as reporting your abuse to the phone company using the call center number that is shown on my Caller ID.

Then I hang up without giving them a chance to respond. Most of the time the supervisor hangs up before I get that far and, having been branded a nutz job, I never hear from them again. Once in a great while I'll get an mumbled apology and a promise to remove my name. Only once have I ever had to make good on my threat to contact the charity's main office, and I received a very satifying letter of apology that included a note they were no longer using that call center.

Why, yes, I can be a bitch.

Janiece said...

Warner, the Salvation Army falls under the "discriminatory" bucket. They won't hire gays or lesbians, and I'm sure as hell not going to donate money to an organization that wouldn't hire people I love as a matter of principle.

Tom said...

Hmmm, I'm on the wrong "do not call" lists. I get very few calls from charities, but lots of calls from people who want to give me a new mortgage, or sign up with their health plan, or save me from predatory credit card vendors by having me sign up for their credit card ("there's current no problem with your account, but you need to call..."), or buy a warranty for my car "which, according to our records, is, or will soon go, out of warranty."

Usually the best they get out of me, once I've determined they aren't someone I want to talk to, is quick "No, thank you," followed immediately by hanging up. But, depending on my mood, sometimes they're fun to play with. "Do you know the difference between a telemarketer and a prostitute crossed with a petty thief?" "Why no, I don't think I do." "That's funny, neither does anyone else I've talked to. I guess there isn't any difference."