Interesting topic on the radio this lunchtime, Charity Cold Callers.
Did you know they had a script? Yeah, surprised me too, and from what the ex CCC interviewee was saying, Cold Callers are not supposed to take No for an answer. They may start off with an initial request for a donation of say £20, which is unaffordable for the prospective contributor, so the value decreases until an acceptable (or tired) consent is achieved and the fish is hooked.
The Independent ran this photograph in an article last November.
The memorial to Mrs Cooke displayed at Fishponds Methodist Church, Bristol
Allow me to refer you to a related article in the Daily Mail last month (link).
Most of us are happy to put a few coppers in the collecting tin at the supermarket for a good cause. A few of us will respond positively to the leaflet put through the door, and some people will donate money either through their bank ATM or over the phone for a world disaster fund. But in Olive Cooke’s case, the fundraisers went into overdrive to claim on her generosity.
According to the radio, pensioners like Mrs Cooke are referred to as Dorothy Donors, and many are targeted by cold callers, having obtained their details from either other charities or by purchasing a ‘customer list’ from unrelated sources.
It would also appear that even if the householder has signed up for the ‘Telephone Preference Service’ to prevent such cold calls, that does not stop them. The cold caller’s ploy is to deny knowing and ask if the householder would like to continue with the call, giving them the opportunity to begin their ‘sales pitch’.
We were Ex-Directory in the hope that we could avoid the inevitable Double Glazing and Insurance callers, but with telephone numbers being dialled at random by a computer these days, this didn’t put a stop to it. It even happens with our mobile phone!
It was said today that there are around a quarter of a million charities in the UK.
Judging from the Government guidelines on setting one up, I’m not surprised and no doubt a lot of them are charities we’ve never heard of.
We saw TV ads all the time whilst we were house sitting, with requests for £2, £3, £5 and even £19. One charity actually had three ads going, each requesting a different amount, and whilst it is not my intention to knock any of the good work they do, what needs to be addressed is their methods of gaining Joe Public’s support.
One of our Government’s favourite buzzwords is Transparency.
Wiki has loads of definitions depending on the subject matter, so I’ve opted for this one (behaviour).
Obviously it should be made clear when you make your donation of £x that it is either a One Off payment or a Regular Monthly committment.
My little guide to this (APART FROM REALLY BIG COLOURED PRINT ON THE DONATION FORM) is this:
If they ask for your Bank account details, it’s more than likely going to be a monthly direct debit from your account.
If they ask for your bank card details (the long number, start and expiry date and security code), it may be a one-off, but could be a regular payment.
If they ask for your Credit Card details, chances are this will be a regular charge too.
Sadly, gone are the days when you completed and signed a standing order or direct debit mandate (which was sent to your bank as your authority for the charges) as everything can be set up over the phone or on the internet.
Of course, there are also the fool-proof methods where there can be no misunderstanding:
either hand over physical cash and sign nothing, or ASK!
As an aside (and in line with our Samaritan donation-that-wasn’t mentioned in my post linked to this one), outside one of the town’s supermarkets this week , there is a guy selling raffle tickets on behalf of one of the Forces Charities.
A friend offered to put a donation in his tin, but he said no, he could only sell her a raffle ticket at £2.50. She didn’t actually have £2.50 in change, and despite her repeated offer to put the pound she did have in his tin, he eventually told her it was a £2.50 raffle ticket or nothing (which was exactly what he got).
With an attitude like that, I’m surprised he managed to sell any, but even worse, it didn’t do the subjects of his charity any favours.