Charity call centres – do they work

I am not a fundraiser but I understand that in a recession even charities have to adopt the hard sell approach. I have been a long-term supporter of charities like Save the Children and I donate when I am able. However, charities prefer to receive a consistent monthly donation, which I am not able to commit to.

Because of my support, I sometimes receive calls from charities asking if I can sign up to monthly payments. After I explain why I am unable, they are very understanding. I once discussed my concerns that the money I donated was going to pay the call centre staff. They tried to avoid the question by saying the vast majority of donations go to the causes and that only a small percentage go towards administration and marketing.

A few months ago I was receiving missed calls almost daily for one week from Save the Children, even though I had asked them to no longer use my number and they assured me that this had been entered onto their system. They started calling me again last week during office hours and I had to answer the call while I was at work to tell them that they should not be using my number. It was bordering on harrassment.

This evening I saw a very good advert by Save the Children aired on primetime television – God knows how much it cost them. Although the advert moved me, I would think twice about donating to them for two main reasons: 1) I am sceptical as to how donations are spent and 2) I do not like their approach of using call centre staff to target their supporters like they are cold calling to sell double glazed windows.

I will continue to support the work of Save the Children and other good charities but only if they can prove that they are genuinely ‘saving children’ and not merely raising awareness of their brand name. Their new advertising campaign, while excellently communicating their main messag,e is tainted by their shoddy approach to how they use supporters’ contact information.

I am blogging every day for Unicef to support their fundraising campaign to protect vulnerable children world-wide. If you would like to find out more please visit my fundraising site.

Thanks for reading.

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