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How do you handle cold calls for donations on phone?
Old 02-21-2010, 10:07 PM   #1
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How do you handle cold calls for donations on phone?

I received a call today from a woman saying that she was from the breast cancer foundation asking for a donation. She seemed polite and courteous but the call itself raised a few flags:

1) Caller ID showed the number as "unavailable"

2) The call happened late at night (about 8:45 pm)


When I said, no, I can't afford it, she said no problem, the donation would only be $15, and is tax deductible. I said again, politley, "sorry, no thanks..." before she could continue more, I just hung up.

I figured, I really don't take cold calls (only reason I picked up was I thought it was someone else who I had just been on the phone with calling me back).

Now I wonder, was it a legit fundraiser or someone just trying to get identity theft type info from me?
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:26 PM   #2
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Did she ask you for any "ID theft" info? Usually they ask for your address and send out a payment envelope.

I have set up our Comcast telephone service so that "unavailable" numbers are blocked. It's great.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:27 PM   #3
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I usually handle charity cold calls the same way you did. My line before hanging up is "I'm sorry, I won't be able to help you."

I never give out a credit card numbers in response to a cold call.

But if the charity sounds worthy, and I'm a little bit interested, I either ask them to send me a brochure or to give me their web address so I can learn more. If they are legit, that should be no problem.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
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Who knows, really (my gut reaction is they want your $15 more than your identity, but you are smart to be wary).

But if you want to consider making a donation, next time they call tell them to mail you information instead. Then you can evaluate the organization at your leisure.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
I received a call today from a woman saying that she was from the breast cancer foundation asking for a donation. She seemed polite and courteous but the call itself raised a few flags:

1) Caller ID showed the number as "unavailable"

2) The call happened late at night (about 8:45 pm)


When I said, no, I can't afford it, she said no problem, the donation would only be $15, and is tax deductible. I said again, politley, "sorry, no thanks..." before she could continue more, I just hung up.

I figured, I really don't take cold calls (only reason I picked up was I thought it was someone else who I had just been on the phone with calling me back).

Now I wonder, was it a legit fundraiser or someone just trying to get identity theft type info from me?
No way to tell for sure at this point. It could have been a real charity, I'm sure they tell the people that do the calls never to take the first "no". My way of dealing with them is not to deal with them. I have a message on my phone machine that starts "If you are calling to sell something, ask for a donation, or in connection with a political campaign, please remove this number from your list immediately". If I'm home, I let the machine answer—my mom and other human beings know to start talking and if I'm there, I'll pick up. If it's someone I don't want to talk to, I don't pick up the phone.

I don't know if this message actually induces people to remove my number from their list. Half the time it's a machine calling anyway.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:35 PM   #6
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I wait until the caller pauses to take a breath, and then I say: "Not-interested-thank-you-goodbye" and hang up promptly.

In almost 62 years, I have never given to a charity, bought anything, or signed up for anything as a result of a cold call over the phone (or snail mail advertising, or spam e-mail...). I try not to be rude and in a sense, it's more polite to end the call promptly and firmly, and not waste their time.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:40 PM   #7
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Did she ask you for any "ID theft" info? Usually they ask for your address and send out a payment envelope.

I have set up our Comcast telephone service so that "unavailable" numbers are blocked. It's great.

I didn't let it get that far. As usually, I just let me answering machine screen my calls and just don't answer any calls that say unavailable.

Before FIREing, as part of my phone service, I used to have Privacy Manager. It worked great in that I would pretty much zero calls from people I don't know. It almost worked too well as days would go when the phone didn't ring and I wonder if the phone was still working.

Now I've retrained my mind to pretty much not notice calls once I see the number on caller id.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:42 PM   #8
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I wait until the caller pauses to take a breath, and then I say: "Not-interested-thank-you-goodbye" and hang up promptly.

In almost 62 years, I have never given to a charity, bought anything, or signed up for anything as a result of a cold call over the phone (or snail mail advertising, or spam e-mail...). I try not to be rude and in a sense, it's more polite to end the call promptly and firmly, and not waste their time.

Funny, in my earlier years (before caller id), I wouldn't want to be rude and cut them off so I'd let them give their pitch and then decline. But I've seen that's its better just to politely decline, then if they keep persisting just to hang up and not waste our time.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:52 PM   #9
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Now I wonder, was it a legit fundraiser or someone just trying to get identity theft type info from me?
"I'm sorry, we give our money to charity anonymously and your organization is already in our plans.* Please put us on your DO NOT CALL list and stop wasting your donation funds."

*"We plan to avoid giving any money to your group!"
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:52 PM   #10
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I just interrupt with "No thank you" and hang up.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:57 PM   #11
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The point mentioned by Nords is important: Be sure to ask them to put you on their DO NOT CALL list. They are required by law to do so, so there should be an immediate pause and while they think about this and do it. This is the only way to prevent them from calling you again. It does work btw. We donate quite a bit and used to be pestered by places we routinely give to. At least for us, a simple request to "DO NOT CALL" does stop them from calling.

I do not begrudge most of these calls. It's their job to be persistent. Also, my kids have learned from me. My heart warms when I hear my 13-year old telling the caller to put our number on the DO-NOT-CALL list.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:21 PM   #12
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We have no landline so we get no cold calls, we have found this to be one of the best things we ever did in terms of lowering our stress
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:34 PM   #13
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Most of them I ask to be put on the do not call list.

But if my university calls me, I'll give them something every time. There are a few other charities in that same category also.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:44 PM   #14
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We say, politely, "We do not make pledges or contributions over the telephone. Please remove us from your list."

I've never had anyone give me any static after saying that, and it lets them move on to the next sucker target
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:12 AM   #15
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I didn't let it get that far. As usually, I just let me answering machine screen my calls and just don't answer any calls that say unavailable.
Yep, I use the answering machine also. My friends and family know enough to see if we are in, after the message.

I refuse to be a slave to the phone ringing or even the door bell. I see a lot of people, my dw included, that feel compelled to jump up and run for the phone or the door, like pavlovean dogs.

If I do answer my phone, thinking it is a friend or family member whose call I am expecting and it is one of the telemarketers, I just say no thank you and hang up.

An anecdote from my dw; She answers the phone and the telemarketer start in on her pitch. She says she has a free gift for my dw. My dw (trained by now), says no thank you. TM says hey wait, don't you want a free gift? DW says no thanks again. TM is persistant and yells IT'S FREE. DW finally loses patients and civility and just hangs up. From then on, dw has been less tolerant. Moral to the story, ... get and and use an answering machine.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:54 AM   #16
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My tolerance of cold callers has declined significantly over the last few years. I now make a habit out of calling anyone who tries to sell me things a @#$%^^ (if my daughters are not withing hearing distance). As far as I am concerned, it is the most appropriate response.

People calling for charities and doing surveys get interrupted before they can finish their second sentence with a firm "no, thank you" after which I hang up without waiting for a response.

The only cold callers I will speak to are real estate agents - sometimes I can get some useful information out of me.

Sadly, there is no such thing as a do not call register in Hong Kong (and it wouldn't be effective if there was because most of the calls come from call centres in China).
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Old 02-22-2010, 05:15 AM   #17
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"I'm sorry, we give our money to charity anonymously and your organization is already in our plans.* Please put us on your DO NOT CALL list and stop wasting your donation funds."

*"We plan to avoid giving any money to your group!"

I really like this response, although I usually just say that "I am not in a position to donate at this time, thank you, good-bye."

Truth is that we donate a lot to charity already, so Nords' response seems very appropriate.

For business cold callers, like AT&T, that usually call during dinner, and who don't have to take me off their list because I'm a customer, I try to politely decline but if they continue to pursue their cause, I just set the handset down and go back to my meal. After dinner, I check to see if they "got the message".

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Old 02-22-2010, 05:21 AM   #18
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Fortunately do not get many phone solicitations - the "do not call" program generally works well.

I ask the caller, "can I call you back later at your home while you're enjoying your evening to talk about this more ?"....
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:53 AM   #19
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:59 AM   #20
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As I do all unsolicited calls -- including those really irritating political ones. I do not engage with the person on the other end. I simply (and quickly) press the "end call" button and go on with my life. I don't feel I owe the person on the other end any courtesies.
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