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Latest in Phone Solicitations

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    So I'm vacuuming and the phone rings. The solicitor said she wasn't looking for donations but instead would send me a kit in February with 15 of my neighbors' names and addresses. All I had to do is stamp and mail them. Some Heart Association. I politely said no and hung up. So what's up with this? They have my name; my neighbors' names. Just looking for stamp money and hoping some charity will prevail?

    I used to feel bad just hanging up on people. Not anymore.
    "The Internet. Where fools go to feel important" - Sir Charles Barkley

  • #2
    I got a call like that years ago (from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, I think). When I asked why they didn't just send their mailers directly to my neighbors, the lady said they believed people would be more likely to donate if someone from their neighborhood asked them to. But I lived in an apartment complex and didn't know any of my neighbors, as is often the case for apartment dwellers. She wanted me to do it anyway, so I agreed. The neighbors were supposed to send their checks to me, and I was to in turn forward them all to the society after a set number of weeks. None of my neighbors responded, so the only check I sent in was my own donation. I now think that was part of the plan. The society probably figured one donation out of 16 solicitations was a lot better than they normally did, so getting someone to agree to do this was a guarantee of at least one donation.

    I used to have trouble turning down requests for donations, but I've reconciled that now. I give a fair amount to charity (including the church), and I just realized that I can't help everyone. I have to make choices about where my donation dollars will go. If I choose not to donate to some cause, it doesn't necessarily mean I think it is unworthy of support. It just means I have to prioritize and budget how I spend my money. There are charities that I support which some other people do not. Perhaps they are donating to the worthy charities that I am not donating to. Between all of us, all of the charities that are worthwhile can get the support they need, even if none of us individually are able to give to every one of them.

    I normally use the answering machine to screen my calls (I'm also on the Indiana Do Not Call list). But if I do end up on the phone with a solicitor for a charity, I explain my philosophy as stated above. I also tell them that I have a policy of not making pledges or promises over the phone. If they want to send me some material in the mail I will consider it, but I will not agree over the phone to send them money unless I originated the call. This gives me an opportunity to think carefully about donating rather than being pressured into it. It also gives me a chance to research the charity if I need to do that. I try to be polite about it, but if they persist after I have said "no" twice, I say "no" a third time, thank them for calling, and immediately hang up.

    I don't mean to suggest that my rules for giving are so rigid that I'm never willing to change or donate to a different charity. I just want to do so thoughtfully rather than doing it in an offhand way.
    "If there is a place on Earth synonymous with race cars, it is Indianapolis." -- Bernie Ecclestone

    "No matter where you go in the world, you say Indianapolis and they don't think about football or basketball, they think about the race." -- Richard Petty


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