Heart of Stone

Shortly after we moved in here I got a phone call from someone soliciting money on behalf of Navy veterans. I agreed to donate twenty-five dollars, since my dad is a Navy veteran and has spent some time overseas before. Apparently that was a bad idea, because despite the fact that each time they call they tell me "we only bug you once a year" it feels like a lot more often than that. Even though they seem to call only once a year for each different cause, I get a new phone call every few weeks for something different. It's obviously some kind of call center, but they don't have very good internal communication. They're very pushy and can't understand why I won't pledge the small amount of twenty-five dollars for their charity. I would, except that if I gave that much every time they called I would go broke fast. Plus I prefer to spend more time thinking about where I'm going to give my money and I'm unlikely to donate to someone on the spur of the moment like that.

Today was definitely the worst so far. It was for the "children's cancer fund" and the lady kept reminding me to "think of the babies". She said more than once "these kids are dying before they even get a chance to live". Uh, thanks. I have a cousin who died of cancer. I know it's a horrible disease. When I declined for the third time she responded: "OK, but think of those sweet babies who are dying and pray for them. You have a nice day." Kind of hard to do that with a giant mountain of guilt sitting on me.


Emma said…
I have to decline every time too. I have given back to my Alma Mater when they called, but otherwise I tell them the truth - that we are playing off loans, and that is our first priority. The often ask for a lower amount, but I just have to say "not this time." I can't feel guilty, because, like you said, if I gave EVERY time they called, I'd be broke!
Kristeee said…
At my office I got calls all the time from the Special Olympics. After several phone calls in a row, I asked if there was a way to be placed on an annual contribution list, and they were more than happy to do so.

The "save the children who have ___ disease" always tugs at the heart strings. Of course I want to help them. However, I have no guarantee that charity X is really going to give my money to the poor kids. My millionaire boss decided to stop contributing to several charities and to start consolidating his contributions to one company he knew would use the money well. That way we could tell everyone else to beat it.
AzĂșcar said…
Ok, I can't take that.

If they start pushing, I end up saying something mean, like,

"I hate cancer patients."

"As long as you can tell me that money won't go to paying Dick Cheney's speaking fee."

"I'm flat broke and we can't feed our kids."

I'm sorry, I don't have the patience for being hit up on the phone.
Courtney said…
that's horrible! if someone called and said something like that to me, I would be so angry. I would probably end up making up some lie about how I had cancer or something. But what you said is very true-- you can't give to every charity or else you would be broke! Besides the fact that I am broke already-- which is what I pointed out to the BYU alumni fund when they called me the week before I graduated, and then I asked them never to call me again. I'm happy to give to charity, but not when they make me feel guilty in order to do it.
Julie said…
I've found it helpful to simply hang up after saying no. This works for people selling stuff too. I hate all phone solicitations, and they are trained to not take no for an answer so I if I have to say no more than once, I simply say no and hang up the phone before they can say anything else.
Mama said…
I use this and don't get calls. Hope it helps!!!


As a kid, they'd call and ask for my parents. That's when I'd fake sob and say, "My daddy's dead!!"

That was wrong. Fun, but really wrong.
ambrosia ananas said…
Ugh. I hate that.
Lindsay said…
Now that is just mean. Not you, of course, but the callers. Saying things like that is just uncalled for, I don't care how desperate they are for money.
Em said…
Keep in mind that part of said solicitor's motivation to convince you to donate is to fund her job.

Remember that you donate to a church fund that distributes funds to many worthy and valuable causes without needing to fund the guilt-spreaders. It helps.
Mary said…
Check out this website: Charity Navigator. I like to go online when I get an unsolicited call and see how the organization is rated. I almost never donate, but it's fun to be able to say "Gosh, 50% of your money goes back into fundraising. That doesn't sound very efficient." Or whatever.
Justine said…
I always tell them I'm happy to contribute directly to the organization (if they would kindly forward that information to me), instead of to a third party call center who keeps at least 50% of the contribution. That usually quiets them right up.
MaryEllen said…
I don't get the calls, but boy, do I get the junk mail! Every time I donate to one organization, I get put on five million other mailing lists. This makes me cranky, especially when these other organizations send me cheap mailing labels as a way of saying, "Look at what we just gave you. Don't you feel guilty enough to give us money?"

I understand how hard it can be to raise money for a good cause, but the appeals to pathos are much more manipulative than I'm comfortable with.

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