Telephone Fund Raising

I had a job for a period of time in telephone-based conservative political fund raising. I needed a job when I took that one, and I thought that type of “phone center” work would be better than, say, trying to get Penney’s credit card holders to buy over priced life insurance.  Turns out, the job is the same.

If you are in receipt of such a call, you can depend on a few things.  One, the caller is going to offer you the opportunity to participate in a “poll” or “survey”.  That’s a scam.  There really isn’t a survey taking place.  It’s only a prelude to a pitch for a donation. And if you give to one conservative pitch, you’ll be flooded with telephone and mail requests.  It’ll NEVER end.  Believe me.  Further, when you’ve guiltily agreed to give some money—probably more than you can afford because you really believe in the cause--the caller will be required to “upsell” you for a secondary amount for some related, but also urgently needed activity. 

Not only that, but the calling center initiates the call, and then INSISTS, with at least two “requests”, that the donor place the “gift” on their credit card.  Even if the donor specifies in advance that they will only send a check though the mail after they’ve personally checked out the organization.  Completely insane, if you ask me.  Both sides—not listening to the people from whom you’re asking for a donation, and on the other end, people actually giving out their credit card number to a stranger who initiated the call.  Insane.

I’m pretty certain that this business model is on it’s way out, though.  More and more people are getting the drift that it’s a bad idea to even take these calls, much less give money to what might certainly be a scam perpetrated by Russian crooks.  The really big issue that I saw, though, was that our “donor” list consisted almost entirely of Americans in their 60’s through their 100’s.  Lots of concerned elderly people.  Conspicuous by their absence from our calling list were people under 60.  When the older citizens die off, nobody will answer the calls.

While I worked in the conservative fund-raising arena, I’m certain that the same model is in place for the liberals.

This nonsense can’t die out quickly enough to suit me.  While I’m not overwhelmed with scruples, that job bothered me.  I found that I couldn’t, in good conscience, squeeze the Bingo money out of Social Security widows and still sleep at night.


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