Friday, 29 July 2011

call for support

Just had a slightly unusual bit of cold calling - from Tearfund. Or rather, a telesales agency working "on behalf" of Tearfund.

But keep that righteous indignation in check for a minute. Though clearly reading from a script for most of the call, the polite (and noticeably, less aggressive than is typical) lady on the other end did not deliver the usual telesales jargon. She finished the call with:

"Just to make clear, I am working for a company engaged by Tearfund for fundraising, and though we are being paid £24,000 for this contract, Tearfund hope to make £270,000 over the next four years from these commitments."

I did not ask for this information, and it left me with a very different impression than I had, say, mid-call. As an irregular Tearfund supporter, I appreciate being an obvious port of call when the time comes for an appeal, and remain interested in what is going on even if I choose not to support them in this way. For that reason, I listened to her entire pitch before responding (rather than interrupting and ending the call straight away, as I would if she were selling windows/insurance/phones/hovercraft/whatever).

And it leaves an interesting discourse to my mind. I am generally divided over how charities should spend their money. On one hand, I love the fact that some, such as charity:water, guarantee that 100% of public donations go to the causes advertised, committing to pay for admin/operational costs through corporate sponsorship.

On the other hand, for the majority this just isn't possible; as Mrs H and I continue to build towards the potential of a year away next year, I'm only too aware that we will ourselves need to fundraise to cover some of the costs of our missional efforts.

Is it admirable that Tearfund are investing money donated to them in this way, and being so upfront about it? I rather think it might be. But I wonder if others may be miffed that their gifts and donations have not gone straight to the third world. We humans are funny like that.

3 comments:

Briege said...

Personally I respect that they have made the full facts known but I still think they are taking a gamble with people's giving and I prefer my donations to any such cause to go directly to the point of need

Pete @mediatree said...

Briege,

I suppose the argument in that case may rest on how certain they are that they will multiply these costs tenfold in what they receive back for the investment.

I know what you mean though, it seems a little illogical but at least if it goes directly you are certain that some assistance has been given.

Dona Ferentes said...

My recent experience with the Tear Fund cold caller was less pleasant than yours, and the calls kept coming even after I'd asked them (nicely) to stop.

I'm actually very sad that Tear Fund are resorting to this method of fundraising, because I regard it as unethical (I've had elderly relatives pressured into signing up subscriptions that they didn't really want).

I've been a Tear Fund supporter for more years than I like to count, but as a result of this I've cancelled my monthly direct debit donations.

I did this with real regret and sadness, because they do good work - but I don't support charities that use chuggers or cold callers.

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