Tips on what to do when a charity calls your home

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:48

    In order to meet their goals and provide the services and programs to the less fortunate, charities must solicit donations. For larger charities with name recognition and big budgets, securing donations can be easier than it is for lesser-known charities with more financial restrictions. But regardless of the size of the charity, they all must seek donations in order to stay afloat, and some still employ telemarketing campaigns. Nowadays, many people are caught off guard when reached at home by a telemarketer. That’s because many countries have established laws that regulate telemarketers, some going so far as to institute do-not-call legislation that restricts certain telemarketing calls. However, politicians and nonprofit organizations are widely exempt from such regulations, and charities use that exemption to their benefits. When receiving a call from someone working on behalf of a charity, consider the following tips. Know who you’re talking to. It’s easy for unsuspecting people to be victimized by con artists over the phone. Con artists can pose as charities and ask for personal information, including credit card numbers. Never give this information over the phone, and never make a donation over the phone. But even if it isn’t someone with ill intentions calling, always ask who the caller is affiliated with. Some might be directly affiliated with the charity, while others might work for a for-profit telemarketing company soliciting donations on the charity’s behalf. That’s an important distinction, as any donation made through the latter will result in a portion of that donation going to the for-profit telemarketing company. The percentage going to the for-profit company might be substantial, so donors might want to make their donation directly to the charity instead. Solicit information yourself. It’s never ideal to donate to a charity over the phone, particularly if you have never donated to the charity in the past. Should a solicitor call your home, request that they send information about the charity, including its annual report, mission statement and past and future projects. The charity should have no issue with this, but if they do politely end the phone call. Don’t be too quick to hang up. It’s almost human nature to hang up the phone the moment you realize it’s a telemarketer or solicitor on the other end. However, this can be a disservice, particularly if you’re planning on making a charitable donation but haven’t yet found the right charity. If the caller isn’t interrupting a meal or being overly aggressive on the phone, stay on the phone and discuss the charity. Ask about its history, its future, its goals, and anything else that comes to mind. This can save you some legwork down the road, and might just provide some valuable insight into an organization you might otherwise never have considered for a donation. Use the recourse available to you. If a phone call from a telemarketer or a volunteer working for a charity is truly bothersome, then ask to be removed from their calling list before hanging up the phone. Keep in mind the person on the other end of the line is simply doing their job and might even be volunteering their time to help a good cause. If you want the calls to stop, be as pleasant as possible and ask to be removed from their list. Don’t vent frustrations out on the caller.