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Charities hard-up for our hard-earned…

By AngryHenry - 12 March 2009 46

So for the umpteenth time in a number of weeks I have been approached by a charity organisation out on the street, coaxed into a conversation and then encouraged to sign my life away in an attempt for them to extract regular donations from me.

It would seem that charities are becoming more and more competitive in their attempt to grab hold of our hard earned. Don’t get me wrong, the people who approach you are always polite, well spoken and seemingly educated individuals. I admire them for saddling up to a cause and trying to do something for the greater good but people all have different priorities in life. Give me a break okay, just lay off.

The conversation is fine I don’t mind chatting if I have the time, and if I end up learning something from the experience even better, but there is always a catch. They want your details then and there to sign you up and get you making those monthly/weekly/annual contributions, all of this based on the conversation you’re having as if you require no further proof that your money will be going to a worthy cause. That’s what really bugs me.

I think in this time where credit card fraud is a major problem, the last thing I’ll be doing is giving my details over to some guy or girl on the street because  they say they are doing something for the greater good.

The other day I was approached by some Oxfam guys in the Canberra Centre. Now I think Oxfam is a pretty worthwhile charity. I’ve gone to their shops and bought presents for people in the past, I’ve bought a goat for a village even, a lot of the things they do I consider to be excellent initiatives. I’m happy to find out more about this stuff if I actively seek it out, not have someone try and befriend me with the sole agenda of soliciting monthly donations from me on the street, in my opinion it cheapens the great work they do.

So I go through the whole conversation part with the guy and he then puts me on the spot and tries to get me to sign up then and there, to which I reply, ‘no, I’d rather do a bit more research before I make a decision’. The thing that I found most annoying was that this guy was standing 100 metres away from the Oxfam shop in Civic, and when I asked if I could actually perhaps come down to the store and sign up after I’d looked into it a bit more he told me that you can’t actually join Oxfam from the shopfront, that’s why he was out there to get me to ‘sign up today’. Then the pressure came with questions like ‘what else do you need to know?’, I just know I’d like to think about it. 

Whilst I’ve singled out Oxfam they’re not the only ones that resort to this tactic. This is only my opinion but these days we are bombarded by so much information that the last thing we need is junk mail in an organic form.

I appreciate the sentiment behind what you’re trying to do, maybe it makes it easier for you to live with yourself, but If you want my donation I’ll decide when I give it to you.

What’s Your opinion?


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46 Responses to
Charities hard-up for our hard-earned…
LaLa 5:40 pm 12 Mar 09

They’re ‘chuggers’ or charity muggers and they are actually directly employed by the charities. Third party face to face marketing companies tender for their business and the company gets a cut of each person signed up.

I always just smile and keep walking, it probably helps that I lived in Sydney and London and have had lots of practice at ignoring them. I also worked in Sales and had to deal with a lot of these face to face marketing companies and know that a lot of them could not give a flying fu*kitty about the charity.

If there is a charity I think I am interested in supporting I will do my own research and then donate to them directly via my workplace giving program which allows me to donate out of my pre-tax wage and then provides me with a neat little summary for my tax return at the end of the year.

I currently support RSPCA and Cancer Council this way and then give spare change to the Salvo or BigIssue men.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 5:38 pm 12 Mar 09

High pressure selling doesn’t work with me, because I have no shame and am quite happy to string a complete stranger along for my own perverse amusement. I once listened to some pommy backpacker go through a whole spiel for Amnesty International, and then when they asked for my credit card details I responded with “no thanks, I’m already free”.

I do in fact support charitable work with my own earnings, quite substantially actually, but high pressure sell is the best way to make not want to participate.

GB 5:31 pm 12 Mar 09

I get annoyed at any kind of high-pressure selling, especially ones that rely on making you feel like you are being rude for ignoring them when they (rudely) pretend to be your long lost-friend when approaching you.

I think both Oxfam (despite their ridiculous name) and the Red Cross / Red Crescent are admirable.

But every time I get accosted, it reduces my inclination to give. I tell them this. Lucky they already have my regular donations (which I researched and signed up for online).

However, I guess they’ve done their research and on balance, the donations they get by employing attractive backpackers to hassle people in malls more than offset those that get grumpy as a result.

I hate the market sometimes.

phototext 5:07 pm 12 Mar 09

I really don’t understand why most charities will not accept money being donated other than through the banking system.

The old Salvation Army guy in Civic, who has been around for years gets my charity money.

At the very least use both methods for people to donate, banking and spare change.

Whatsup 4:27 pm 12 Mar 09

I had World Vision on my doorstep a few weeks ago. The fellow was polite and introduced himself then launched into the sales pitch. I was polite and indicated that I was not interested. At this point he got pushy and was still yapping on as I gently closed my front door. I wonder in their training if they are encouraged to continue on even when someone has said “No”. Does that really work, ever ?

Starscream 4:00 pm 12 Mar 09

I have no problem giving charities my spare change but i find it ridiculous when they say they cannot accept that but only will take my credit card details. screw that

AngryHenry 3:48 pm 12 Mar 09

FC said :

I think that these tactics are rightfulling employed because people generally seem to be a bit apathic about the plights of these charitys, until that are faced with the person, and then feel guilted/shamed/responsible. And I guess I think sometimes if it gets money/food/medicine etc to people who need it MUCH more than any of us could really imagine NEEDING, then so be it.

Being guilted or pressured into donating isn’t dignified and potentially can make them come across like glorified beggers.

Being made aware of what the charity does is a first step granted, but it’s up to us to decide from there.

Trunking symbols 3:43 pm 12 Mar 09

“We will decide what charities to donate to, and the circumstances under which we donate”.

Apologies to a certain ex-PM.

FC 3:38 pm 12 Mar 09

I am someone who, while I might want to support the charity, will never sign up on the spot, but will go and do further research and sign up via the internet or another way later, once I know I am doing it becuase it is what I want, instead of because I feel guilted/pressure.
HOWEVER – I think that these tactics are rightfulling employed because people generally seem to be a bit apathic about the plights of these charitys, until that are faced with the person, and then feel guilted/shamed/responsible. And I guess I think sometimes if it gets money/food/medicine etc to people who need it MUCH more than any of us could really imagine NEEDING, then so be it.

notmuchtosay 3:36 pm 12 Mar 09

I agree, Im not handing out my credit card or any personal details to anyone. The last charity I was approached by was World Vision, they were door knocking. When I told the guy I already supported a charity, one that I believe in, he began to quizz me like he didnt believe me. When I explained about the organisation he told me they would have some government support, not like the people in Africa suffering from Cholera. I love it that people have a passion, and its very admirable, but its ugly when they do the hard sell.

Jim Jones 3:20 pm 12 Mar 09

Going the hard sell on regular charity donations always struck me as a bit dodgy. The salespeople work on commission, which makes me even more uneasy.

During O-Week a lot of them were parked in the universities and going hard sell on a student body population, the bulk of which doesn’t have much spare income.

AngryHenry 3:17 pm 12 Mar 09

Confounded italics!

I think you know what I mean man.

As soon as you make eye contact with these people they exchange a ‘hello’, you are polite, you ‘hello’ back and suddenly they are up in your face informing you of all the problems in the world you aren’t helping with.

AngryHenry 3:16 pm 12 Mar 09

jakez said :

So basically what you are saying is that you know you don’t have to stop, you choose to stop and talk to them, and you know that you want to think about things before you commit.

I’m sorry what exactly is the problem?
quote]

I think you know what I mean man.

As soon as you make eye contact with these people they exchange a ‘hello’, you are polite, you ‘hello’ back and suddenly they are up in your face informing you of all the problems in the world you aren’t helping with.

jakez 3:13 pm 12 Mar 09

Oh and I absolutely support your decision to take time and do research. It is an absolute must when considering charitable organisations. Many are either extremely inefficient or borderline corrupt.

jakez 3:12 pm 12 Mar 09

“I appreciate the sentiment behind what you’re trying to do, maybe it makes it easier for you to live with yourself, but If you want my donation I’ll decide when I give it to you.”

So basically what you are saying is that you know you don’t have to stop, you choose to stop and talk to them, and you know that you want to think about things before you commit.

I’m sorry what exactly is the problem?

As for the regular donation system that many charities are using these days, yeah they must work. I did it with MSF for a good while and will probably start up again soon (went through a period where I had other financial priorities (I’d say I couldn’t afford it but I find that to be a capricious statement most of the time). Cold sales are ‘annoying’ but at the end of the day let’s be honest, we can spend as much or as little time as we want with these people.

Gratuitous strawman: Yeah well if only the poor starving kids overseas had such frivolous problems, you harpy!

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