Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Charitable giving.

When we got married David and I already had our own charities. Mine go out on direct debit each month and so do his.  I know roughly what he supports and visa versa. Lately there have been alot more phone calls about charitable giving.  I know times are hard but you can be over pushy, anyone out there engaged in any campaign.
It doesn't help that all the calls seem to be in the early afternoon when one of is is having a little power nap!  First rule of vicaring, don't arrive un announced at the door of anyone over 70 after lunch!
No ones told the charity workers that if they wake someone up their chances are very slim of getting more money.
Once it was  just charities we didn't contribute to. Now its charities we do already support. I overheard my husband shouting down the phone yesterday.
"But I've already told you we support you....I already get your bleep bleep news letter.  Look at your lists then if you don't believe me."
And so it goes. I have never worked out the proportion of our income that goes on charitable giving.  but its quite a lot and I like to keep some out of the monthly pot to support things on a one off basis that stirs the soul.
There's a lot of desperation around just now. I do understand. But a softly softly approach when we are both awake is far more likely to get results than some of the  brash calls we have had lately.
Yesterday a man rang me just as I was sorting out a christening. I cheerfully asked if he would mind if I passed him over to my husband. He asked why so I told him that my husband dealt with that particular charity. He was affronted. It was me he wanted to speak to. Perhaps asking if someone has the time to speak would be a good idea to start a conversation.
We are both aware of how lucky we are in being able to support those charities we feel strongly about but there have to be limits. We have both decided that our limit is just about reached, apart from serious emergencies like the recent tsunami.
I support the local charities as much as possible.  There's so much unhappiness and poverty growing every day that it seems likely that the cold calling will increase...but beware, a newly awakened pensioner can  be dangerous!


  1. Really interesting piece Jean - good to hear the feedback from the 'target audience' and I'm sure the Institute of Fundraising would be interested to hear your thoughts !

    When I was a fundraiser I was never a fan of cold calling or 'chugging' in the street - I always fear the risk of bad PR isn't worth the gamble but a lot of the big charities have done the maths and decided it is. Working for a local charity we a)couldn't afford it and b) feared the consequences of getting it wrong.

    I would be interested in how many of your cold callers were local/national and whether any of them were from explicitly Christian Charities who seem to be better (or as some would have it behind the times) in how they approach their donors.

    Comment not anonymous just having blogger issues - Jo BM

  2. What I get irked with is those charities that you already support, continually send you additional begging letters.

    I refuse to talk charitable giving over the phone, I insist on receiving some information to allow me to make up my mind on whether or not to support a particular appeal or charity.

    As you say, emergency given is separate, when something like the Tsumami arises out of the blue.

  3. Since writing this a few hours ago we have now had another three calls. Thanks for the feedback . Its interesting that this is a repeated problem for many of us...I have never actually worked in this area and I can imagine how difficult it must be but surely if the person on the other end of the line tells you they are not interested then that should send out the signal that its time to stop talking.
    The girl from the RSPCA just now talked non stop even though my husband tried to stop her. What makes it worse is that we already support them...
    She asked us about our pets so my husband tried to tell her that we had just lost our cat. Undeterred by a mere detail she then asked what sort of dog we had. I wanted to just take the phone off him but he was being very polite. This sort of thing is asking for a negative response which is a great pity because I know the need is great.

  4. I'm usually polite, but when someone persistently refuses to break their scripted spiel and listen to what I am trying to say to them, I put the phone down on them.

    There is a limit to patience.(from GOM) (Grumpy Old Man) :)