Monday, October 31, 2011

Come Monday...Some More Fresh Air

“Come Monday…” is a weekly series that will involve a review of, or commentary about,  websites, movies, documentaries, television shows, sports, music, and whatever else may tickle my fancy at the time.  Be assured that these reviews will be generally positive, as in accordance to the Jimmy Buffett song “Come Monday.”  This is subject to change, however.  In fact, I would be most derelict in my duties to neglect going on a rant every once in a while.  For rants promote change, and change can be good—right?  Therefore, since good is generally considered as being a positive force in 99.3% of the parallel universes that I am aware of, even a rant could be considered as being something positive, and a genuine hissy-fit would be even better (so I’m told).

Early last summer, I was asked to publish something about [The Fresh Air Fund].  It can be read [here], and I hope this will be a timely follow-up piece, which [Grace] helped to prompt.

Yes, it well past an opportune time to actually host a child in desperate need of breathing some fresh country air, but giving to worthy causes never goes out of season.  Be assured that The Fresh Air Fund is indeed a worthy cause in a number of ways.

In sharp contrast, we have had some fairly recent encounters with charities rife with uncharitable aggression and apathy.  Since I am very hopeful that those encounters have been exceptions instead of the rule, the names of the organizations involved will not be given.

The first encounter involved a solicitation for a donation over the phone by a charity that we were able to give to last year, but our funds are not nearly as plentiful this year.  So, when my wife told the caller that we would not be able to donate anything this year, he asked, “Why not?”  He even went on to ask what was different about this year, since we were able to give before, which was very upsetting to us both.

If I remember right, it was later in that very same week a little over a month ago that she received another almost identical telephoned solicitation from another charity that we had given to last year.  This “inspired” me to find out what I could about what was going on, and I soon learned that both of the calls came through a third-party call center.  I was unable to find out if both calls came from the same place, but since the script was almost identical, I suspect that they were.

After finding out about the third-party call centers, I sought to get into contact with the actual charities, and the one I was able to get into direct contact with via email immediately began an investigation of their own.  Within a couple of days, they informed me that they had tracked-down who had made the call to us on their behalf, and after reviewing the recordings of several other calls that he had made to others, he was fired.

Be assured that I did not want to see anyone lose their job.  For all I was looking for was an emphasis being made on there being a big difference between soliciting charitable donations and collecting debts, but anyone with a semblance of common sense (naturally-speaking, of course) should already realize that—right?

It was a very different story with the other charity using a third-party call center to solicit donations, however.  For they did not list an email address on their website.  So, I called the telephone number that was listed, and the one answering the phone offered to take our names off of their list after evidently ignoring what I had told him about just wanting to help them right an ongoing wrong.  After repeating my intentions a couple of times more, he finally put me on hold for the director, and after almost an hour of waiting, I gave up.

Oh, but wait—there’s more!  For the second charity did have the name of the call center they were employing listed on the front page of their website, and I was able to send an email to them.  Twenty-four days later, I received an email from [MacRae’s Blue Book] that they had decided to not pass on my email to the call center.  When I sent a reply back to MacRae’s about it looking like they were as serious about providing good customer service as the call center was, it came back as undeliverable.

No, we are not quite done yet.  For when my sister-in-law went to donate their old couch after getting a new one, she had to go to three different charity outlets before finding one that was willing to accept it.  Now, I can understand if it had become the home for a bunch of militant squirrels bent on the destruction of all man-made items, but the only thing wrong with the couch was a very small (we’re talkin’ teeny-tiny here) tear in the fabric on one corner of the back.  Evidently, at least some beggars can afford to be choosers.

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  1. I have an on-going battle with the VFW - these people spend more money on the crap they send in the mail than they probably get in donations. Plus if you do send them money not more than two weeks later they call asking for more. Really???

    I refuse to donate to "charities" that spend more money on solicitations than on doing good.

    And yes, those 3rd party solicitations - piss me off big time. In Virginia the state police hire such a company to make calls and excuse me but the state police are getting my tax money now they want me to send their kids to college? Are they kidding me?

    Oh dear I could go on and on - like I usually do but I've got a busy morning ahead :-)

  2. I've gotten the calls on behalf of the state police and another one for veterans (I think) Some of those people can be really rude

  3. Thanks for stopping by again, my dear Grace!!! It seems like a great mistake to me for a charity to go through a third-party call center to solicit donations. For the calls would probably be just another part of their job, just like calling with questions for a contracted survey or debt-collection--certainly nothing personal. Besides, the money they would be paying the call center should be going to the ones they are supposed to be trying to help.

  4. Thanks for stopping by again, my dear Ann!!! It sounds like you have gotten the same calls as we have.


Since the Blogger spam filter has been found sorely lacking lately, I will start moderating comments. Be assured that I am only interested in deleting spam. So, if you feel a need to take me to task over something—even anonymously, go ahead and let 'er rip, and I will publish it as soon as I can.