I’ve made mention before of my policy to never give anything to a charity that uses a call center to contact me—even if all subsequent contact is by mail. I don’t mind if it’s one person in a small office using their time to make calls to past donors to see if they’ll give again, or something like that, but call centers follow a different etiquette—or rather a lack thereof.
I’ve also mentioned that one of the charities that has bugged me this way was Children’s Wish Foundation International. It smells like a racket. They call all the time, from call centers. Lo and behold, it is a racket. The Tampa Bay Times (hat tip: Dubious Quality) has posted a link to America’s worst charities, and the good old CWFI comes in at #3 on their list.
Now to be clear, the article says these companies are not complete scams. They do in fact do some charitable work. But the majority of their funds are basically going to pay the organization and the telemarketers who harass us. The companies in the top 50 are reported to have spent less than 4% on direct cash aid, while some spent nothing at all. I’m sure they did other useful things with that money, but the point is that they didn’t do nearly as much as they should have with all that cash. Per the Times, they also routinely mislead donors about where their money is going.
Apparently, many of these companies also have family ties.
Fun story: The other day I got a call from one of those police benevolent organizations, from an obvious call center. The guy on the other end would not shut up. He launched into his spiel with such gusto that I had to talk over him for about five seconds (not exaggerating) any time I wanted to get a word in. He’s obviously a seasoned veteran; I’ve dealt with guys like that before. Given the number of organizations on the top 50 list that purport to collect for police, I have little doubt that this was one of these groups.
Not one thin dime.
When you give to a charity that uses outbound call centers to solicit donations, you’re likely giving to a charity that spends very, very little of your donation money on the cause they to support. But as I said before, you’re already part of the problem, by giving them positive results for their phone spam. These organizations are, frustratingly, exempt from the national Do Not Call list; all they’re legally required to do is put you down on their own DNC list if you tell them to.
Make them stop. This is not acceptable behavior, and a lot of slimeballs are getting rich at the expense of our time and money, while better charities are going begging. You can be a small part of the solution by adopting my rule.