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children's charity telemarketer
Old 08-06-2007, 12:51 AM   #1
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children's charity telemarketer

just got a call from a children's "wish" granting charity, asking for a donation. i said no thanks, and please take me off your list. she said, we'll keep you informed through the mail... I said, no thanks, please take me off all the lists - i don't make donations over the phone and i'm not interested...

it turns me off when charities outsource these calls, even some good organizations i like...they cost a lot - and i'd rather give directly to who i want, when i want...

then -

she rambled about something taking weeks and how by then the sick kids in need won't be around?!

i said, what?@! I seriously was stunned and i told her i can't believe she just said that...she kept going on and on...

finally i hung up and low and behold there are strings of fake children's charitys reaping in money by taking advantage of caring people!

i know most folks on here do their due diligence before donating (haha, giving your money away!) but just wanted to flag it... there have been a lot of investigations from attorney generals in various states etc...

one charity raked in over $3 mill and only "gave out" about $50k? terrible!
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:43 AM   #2
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I used to work for Texas Childrens' Hospital. I would say tell the telemarketers that I give at the office.

IIRC, nonprofit organizations, political campaigns (the people who wrote the law) and any company who you have an existing relationship with are exempt. I have started getting calls from the Marriott Timeshare people because I stayed at a Marriott.

My advice is to give directly to a childrens charity. And at the Megacorp, not only to they match your donation online, they screen the companies so that you know that they are legit.
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:59 AM   #3
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Not only do they outsource. Apparently he telemarketer get a hefty commission from each donation. I have not confirmed this... but I was told the commission was on the order of 60%. I guess the deal/compensation for the TM firm is strictly commission based with known charities.


I make it a point to not give donation to someone who calls me. If I want to give a donation, I send the check to the charity directly. That way I know more of the $ actually make to the intended recipients of the charity.

Even with that, many charities have such high overhead that less than half of the donation makes it to the intended recipient... much of the money is spent in overhead for the charity itself to run the organization.
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:16 AM   #4
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Not only do they outsource. Apparently he telemarketer get a hefty commission from each donation. I have not confirmed this... but I was told the commission was on the order of 60%. I guess the deal/compensation for the TM firm is strictly commission based with known charities.


I make it a point to not give donation to someone who calls me. If I want to give a donation, I send the check to the charity directly. That way I know more of the $ actually make to the intended recipients of the charity.

Even with that, many charities have such high overhead that less than half of the donation makes it to the intended recipient... much of the money is spent in overhead for the charity itself to run the organization.
On an aside, you have an interesting signature.........
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Old 08-06-2007, 11:43 AM   #5
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He just didnt want anyone to make the mistake of thinking he was one of THOSE
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:47 PM   #6
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There are only a couple of charities that I give to when they call......they're local charities! One of them just called a week or 2 ago...."Shop-With-A-Cop". The local police department raises money to take children of local, low-income families shopping for school supplies and school clothes and shoes. They set up a time with each kid to go shopping, pick them up in a squad car, and then go and let the kids get what they need, and buy them lunch at the Golden Arches or someplace like that. The families really appreciate it, and the kids have a blast! (BTW, they spend at least a couple hundred bucks per kid!)

As for other telemarketers....IF we answer the phone (which is rare since we usually let our answering machine 'screen' the calls ) we tell them that we only give "in person" and ONLY to local charities. We also ask them to remove our names and phone #'s off of their lists. (We do give occasionally to national or international charities....but we NEVER tell the telemarketers that!) Once they've been told that, I hang up the phone, because I refuse to listen to them continue to beg! What part of "I'm NOT interested!" didn't they understand?!
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Old 08-06-2007, 12:55 PM   #7
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The amount that a charity has to 'give' for charity purposes is small... and that is what actually MAKES it to the charity...

I have heard that those gumball machines only give like 5% to the charity... when a new reporter asked about the low amount to the charity, they said something like we would not be getting that money if we did not participate!!!! WTF, screw your contributors that way and then screw them again when you only give less than half to the needy

But, as long as the head of the charity gets a good salary... who cares
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:02 PM   #8
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When I'm really mad at a telemarketer, I tell them to call their mother and tell her that she raised a telemarketer.
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:29 PM   #9
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But, as long as the head of the charity gets a good salary... who cares
That's the main reason we stick with our chosen local charities...we know where the money goes. And it's not to pay the 'big-wigs'!

All but one that we give to, is run by unpaid volunteers, or else the people are already being paid by some other outside entity or employer. Like with the "Shop-With-A-Cop" program, the police officers that take the kids shopping are already being paid by the City, so ALL donations go to benefit the kids. Another one that is run by the local newspaper, uses and pays their employees to operate the charity, so 100% of the money donated goes directly for the intended purpose.

The one exception to that, that we donate to, is a facility for the physically and mentally impaired. Their entire operation depends entirely on donations. All of the employee's salaries are also paid out of that. The one amazing fact about that place, is the fact that the position of "head honcho" is (and always has been) a full-time, unpaid volunteer! And it's a very well run operation, that always spends money wisely, and always operates in the "black".....they work with what they have, and they NEVER have to beg!
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:33 PM   #10
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He just didnt want anyone to make the mistake of thinking he was one of THOSE
What's "one of those"??
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Old 08-06-2007, 01:38 PM   #11
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I spent most of my career on the non-profit side -- both as a grant maker for a MegaCorp and then running a national non-profit charity. There are more than 600,000 registered charities in the US, and unfortunately, some of them do things that give the legitimate ones a very bad name.

By definition, a publicly-supported charity is just that -- one that relies on donations to allow it to continue its work. And just like any other business, almost every one of these non-profits have overhead expenses that are necessary to just keep the doors open. Someone has to pay for the staff, the computers, utilities, rent, etc. -- so a portion of the donations are generally allocated to these non-program related expenses.

The key here is "how much?" There are some non-profits that spend 75 cents of every dollar collected on the overhead -- with 25 cents or less on actual program costs. Others -- like the one I ran -- spent less than 20 cents on overhead with more than 80 cents of every dollar going to direct program services. (Generally, the less spent on overhead, the better...BUT particularly for new organizations or those that are starting new programs, the start-up costs may be higher and that's acceptable for a time.)

Before I would give a penny to an organization, I would ask this simple question: Of every dollar collected by Charity X, what percentage is used for DIRECT PROGRAM COSTS and what amount is used for NON-PROGRAM-RELATED COSTS (like fundraising, management and administrative expenses). Every charity knows their ratio -- it's one of the basics of managing a non-profit.

As for using telemarketers, my organization did not hire them. We did our own fund-raising, using our own staff and volunteers, and we always complied with our donors' wishes. BTW, if a particular donor specified that he/she wanted their donation used ONLY for program costs, that's what we did. (Of course, if every donor earmarked every contribution for only program costs we'd be out of business!) When we made phone solicitations, the calls were made by volunteers to only those individuals with whom we already had some sort of prior relationship. Never cold calling to a purchased list.

Many of the professional fundraising telemarketers are boiler room operations that have a contract with a charity that may return as little as 5 cents of every dollar raised to the charity -- with the telemarketer getting up to 95 cents. Some charities believe that using these types of solicitations raise the awareness of their cause and that by casting a wide net, someone will bite....unfortunately, some of their techniques turn off potential donors to the point where they sour on any kind of charitible giving.

My suggestions?
  • Give to the causes that you believe in and can identify with.
  • Ask lots of questions before you give -- ask to see the group's annual report or better yet, a copy of their most recent audit. Go to Guidestar.org or one of the other monitoring websites and check out the charity's background. (You can also find out what the top officials of the group are paid -- it's required info in their tax returns.)
  • Ask where your dollars will be used and ask for an update before you give a second or third gift.
  • Tell the organization how you'd like to be contacted and how often and advise them that you will hold them to their word.
  • If you can't give $$ or wish to learn more before you give, offer to volunteer for the organization -- most groups always need more volunteers.
  • And, trust your instincts. If the group is too pushy or too evasive in providing answers, move on.
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:50 PM   #12
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What's "one of those"??
You know...

Now go call your mother!
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Old 08-06-2007, 02:57 PM   #13
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As for using telemarketers, my organization did not hire them. We did our own fund-raising, using our own staff and volunteers, and we always complied with our donors' wishes. BTW, if a particular donor specified that he/she wanted their donation used ONLY for program costs, that's what we did. (Of course, if every donor earmarked every contribution for only program costs we'd be out of business!) .
That is one of the fallacies that if you asked to have your money go to a particular charity... Say you give to the United way and say you want your money to go to 'children'.... well, nothing changes... they make a determination of how much will go to children and then look to see who said their contribution should go there... they subtract that amount and then say the rest is non-specific giving...

If you had NOT said to spend it on children, nothing different happens... the only way they have to worry is if a lot of people say to give it to 'X' and they did not want to give that much to 'X'... they are stuck, but nothing else will go there either...
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Old 08-06-2007, 03:39 PM   #14
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That is one of the fallacies that if you asked to have your money go to a particular charity... Say you give to the United way and say you want your money to go to 'children'.... well, nothing changes... they make a determination of how much will go to children and then look to see who said their contribution should go there... they subtract that amount and then say the rest is non-specific giving...

If you had NOT said to spend it on children, nothing different happens... the only way they have to worry is if a lot of people say to give it to 'X' and they did not want to give that much to 'X'... they are stuck, but nothing else will go there either...
To clarify, I was speaking only for the organization that I ran -- I know that the United Way has a whole different approach that's based on agency allocations combined with citizen review panels, etc. I served on many of those panels and it was very frustrating to have legitimate needs of $$$ and know that under the allocation policy, only $ was going to be available. But I digress.

If a donor to MY organization (which was not a part of the United Way system) specifically asked that we used their $$ for my organization's program services and not for anything else, then that's what we would do. So, if you specifically said "I want these dollars to go to the program that serves this group of people", we'd do it even if that meant that that group would get a little more than we originally budgeted. We had other donors who did not designate their gifts, so those would help cover the non-program related costs -- like keeping the lights on.

Admittedly all $$ are fungible, but it was an assurance we could provide to the donor and our acknowledgement of the gift would so reflect it.
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Old 08-06-2007, 07:07 PM   #15
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Legitimate overhead for a non-profit is very reasonable. i think non-profits are under undue scrutiny and then are forced to squeeze and get by w/ a few people wearing 10 hats. that doesn't help the cause. I agree w/ achiever and since this is also my line of work, i know the struggle we go through every day to raise our budget and keep producing great results...

paying a telemarketer and only a tiny percentage going to any charity is criminal..or should be...

i definitely encourage people to give directly to their non-profits of choice...using other means results in a % deduction that the non-profit won't see.
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