Letter: A Little Compassion Please

Just sharing thoughts from an organization’s point of view.

We are all going thru hard times right now! People with money are being hounded, people without money are having a hard time keeping their families afloat.

Organizations are being bombarded for help.

People are making the tough choice and reaching out.

Organizations (or at least mine) are working OVERTIME to be able to help these individuals out.

We (or at least the organization I am involved in) are not doing it for ourselves.

We are doing it to help our neighbors, our friends, maybe even our family members who are struggling.

They did the tough thing and reached out, we are doing everything in our power to assist them

When we reach out, a simple “I’m not available now,” “I can’t help this minute, follow up” etc is so appreciated… being curt, ignoring, even blocking our numbers makes it that much more challenging for us to continue.

We’re not a business.

We’re here to help!

The responsibility is on all of us, organizations just streamline and make it comfortable and confidential for those in need.

No one is forcing anyone to help!

All we ask is just a little compassion at how you react to us.

We are humans! We are doing hard work. Not many people can do this type of work.

You don’t wanna burn us out as so many rely on us!

Please, if you can’t help at the moment remember this! We are understanding, we aren’t trying to attack you, we are trying to help others we can only do it with your help or at least your kind words!

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  1. As someone who tries to help when I can, I get numerous phone calls and sometimes I don’t have the ability to listen to a long pitch. I would suggest preparing a short pitch. You might make more money and will get fewer curt replies. I would suggest, “Hi, I’m calling from Awesome Organization. Can I give you a short description of what we do?”

  2. Thank you for pointing this out.

    We are regular people. Some of us have the ability to help. Some don’t. Those that don’t definitely do need your help. So how about we work together so that as you say, you don’t get burnt out, but keeping in mind we also don’t want to be burnt out.

    Choose wisely when you call. Choose wisely which number you are calling us on. We are entitled to privacy, to family time and to not have our personal cell numbers and email addresses shared. Remember that most people cannot take your call during working hours.

    Choose when and how often you are bombarding us with ur charidy campaigns and fund raisers. Keep in mind that our phones buzzing relentlessly from you and your “teams” letting us know multiple times a day when you are launching your campaign, now your live, your 25% there, your half way there, we reached 75% let’s finish this off, Yay we did it, help us on our bonus round, wow your amazing, thank you for joining – is a bit much on anyone’s time.

    Understand that if we already responded to your request for help then have a system in place where we are not called or emailed or whatsapped again and again. That’s on you to figure out how to make that happen.

    Be transparent. There are so many organizations but most of us really have no idea how much you help or how honest you are. We don’t know what’s for operating costs or for helping. We don’t know who is deciding where you give the help to? For example if a go fund me campaign is launched because of a tragic death of the father and husband, we are giving to the family to have right now, we don’t want to find out that what we gave is now in the hands of askonim who are slowly giving it to the family because they feel that’s the smarter way to do it – TRUE STORY by the way.

    So yes, we agree with the premise of your letter and plea. We just want it to be a 2 way street in understanding and doing the right thing

    Much Hatzlocha

    • We cant call you at work, during family time, we cant call your cell phone or email you. How in the world do you expect us to get a hold of you?? Is it ok with you if we send something in the regular mail to be thrown in the garbage?? You are absolving yourself from the mitzvah of tzedaka, and bein adam lchavro! If someone calls and its a bad time say it nicely, “I cant talk now sorry”, or “sorry but I cant give right now”, you could do it! No reason to answer nastly or hang up on someone abruptly, we are all tzelem elokim! Even its annoying, you still have to respect people, sometimes mitzvahs are hard to be mekayem, look at it that way! As a fundraiser, this what I feel answering my people who have bad middos.

      • Kalman – that was the wrong response. It showed you are frustrated and unable or perhaps unwilling to see things as they are. I have my responsibility to give and I am allowed and capable of choosing to who and when. Just because you are doing what your doing does not in any way give you a right to infringe on my space and on top of it try to make me look like the bad guy or the inconsiderate guy.

        You have a hard job no doubt but your hard job, like anyone else with a hard job, you need to figure out the best way to get your job done successfully in a way that works for you. However, don’t put the blame on me or make me out to be the problem. I work hard. I have a family. I am entitled to my privacy and my ability to choose where I want to give. You need to get to me in a way that I will appreciate it and want to respond. That’s all in you. Stop blaming others.

        Part of the reason people can get testy and nasty is because many in your field ruin it for everyone. When I am bombarded with robo calls (not even a human being calling), bombarded with 30 guys who are all helping you with the same one campaign, when I am being hit up for money every Teffila in Shul multiple times as I try to just daven like a mensch, when after a long day and I’m finally able to learn with my boys or eat supper with my wife or whatever – yes that gets quite frustrating and will result in maybe not the best way it should. But I am human.

        It’s on you to figure it out.

        • Ok so what do you propose? How would you do it if you were a fundraiser? and dont tell me go figure it out yourself, that is not going to fix any of your problems here.

          • I would coordinate with anyone involved and create a master database that monitors attempts and responses.

            Every person who is helping (meaning making a direct solicitation) must submit all the names they will be reaching out to. That master list must be edited so that no person is listed twice. Once a clean master list of potential donors is created then you need to log when that donor was called and by whom assuring nobody gets called more than once a day. Once a response – positive or negative is made by the donor, then that donors name is removed from the list. Once a donor is called 7 times their name is removed from the call list even if they didn’t respond (cause hounding them is useless).

            No robo calls or pre recorded calls EVER. That is impolite and annoying.

            No reminder calls. Send reminder emails or mail a reminder but no calls or texts

            Post as much as you want on your status because that’s yours and you can do as you please with your things, not with mine.

            All calls must begin with hello my name is …. calling from….. regarding…… is now a good time for you? If yes then make ur pitch quick and clearly. If no then ask may I please call you a different time about this campaign? If yes aske when. If no then say thank you and goodbye. Then move on and delete that donor from the master list.

            No bochurim or kids in school.should ever be used as callers. They are not mature or polished enough. Use the boys to go collecting on Purim if you want but no calls from kids.

            If you promote no internet or smartphones then do not ever allow internet or smartphones to be used for fund raising. Either you allow it or you don’t.

            Hang announcements in Shuls, advertise in newspapers – nationally and locally, have local rabbonim or shuls promote your campaign.

            This is just a start. It may be harder work for you but you will get better results and more friends. Friends leads to $. Frustrated donors leads to people shutting you out

  3. Kudos to all of you who call anonymously to help others! A few tips for tzedaka callers.

    1) Don’t call after 10. We’ve received many tzedaka calls on our cell phones at close to midnight from unknown callers.

    2) If someone doesn’t pick up, don’t call every couple of minutes. This usually happens from bochurim who call my husband bein hasdarim, when it’s in the middle of a workday. It’s especially busy during purim time, when they all collect for their yeshivos. Please leave a message, or better yet send a text with a donation link. Perhaps the yeshivos could formulate some type of list that the bochurim write down who they received money from. When 15 boys call from the same yeshiva it gets frustrating for everyone.

    3) If you already called someone twice and they pushed you off, if might be a sign to let it go. Many can’t give like they are used to and have a hard time all of a sudden saying no.

    4) If you are reading off a script, please let me interrupt. Sounds simple, but if I’m on the other line and want to respond that I gave already, I don’t have to wait for the 60 second appeal.

    5) I can only imagine how much the wealthy people get hounded all day. There are hundreds of organizations and mosdos in our town. Please have compassion and realize you are not the only one asking for donations that day.

    May hkbh bless you all for the selfless work you are putting in.

  4. Interesting…I also thought we were going thru hard times. And then I passed some construction sites where new homes are being built and it seems that there are people who haven’t gotten the message.

  5. I donated $360 to an organization that promises Yeshuos for whatever I want most.
    B”H it really works! I have not received a call from a Tsedaka organization (besides the 1 selling me the Yeshuos) since donating.

  6. Unfortunately your call is on top of the endless recorded robo calls daily(Btw robo telemarketer calls are illegal).Everyone already has their places they need to give.Most ppl collecting are taking a huge cut off the top.

  7. I agree with the writer, but I suggest anyone going into fundraising etc. should learn the first perek of Bava Basra, rambam hilchos tzedaka and tur shulchan aruch.
    Chaza”l were very wise, let’s keep to their set of rules (the tznius in collecting, two people etc.), and not follow the goyishe way of fundraising, which is just to pump up rich people (celebrities, athletes, movie stars etc.) who have mothing to do with their time and money.

    And above all, let’s start having some accountability, Moshe Rabeinu gave an exact cheshbon as to where every dollar went (learn chumash parshas pikudei). Today if you ask a rosh mosed, all you get is “Do you know what I do for klal yisroel? Do you want to do it?”, with zero accountability. There are millions of dollars unaccounted for. I know this from personal experience.

  8. I have a landline which I now leave unplugged because of donation seekers and robocalls. The final thing that pushed me over the edge was when I came home from work and had over 20 messages from the same charity. I wrote down the number and was clearing out the messages when the charity called again. What made it even worse was that it was the same person (not a robo). When I asked why they had to call every 20 minutes they hung up on me. They will never get a penny from me.

  9. If I may add my two cents….
    Some people like getting email requests, and some like text messages, while some think it is SO impersonal to text or make a tzedakah request by text or email! Others, feel like when they pick up the phone instead of going to your pitch, you have to ask the donor ” Reb Yid, is now a good time? And before you answer how is your day going??”
    Bottom line is, there is no perfect answer other than to try to know your donor base and know how they like to be “approached” whether it is by phone, text, email or in person! Donors are entitled to feel how ever they want regarding giving out tzedakah! Most Gvirim are usually very sincere, caring and humble people and understand that they are a shliach for the Ribono Shel Olam to give out HIS money.

  10. stop calling people do an event and network and have people show up to your lavish meat boards and guacamole pulled beef stands (yum)!! get people to work for you by sending out links and getting people to show up. have a plan. market. do it right. not just hi its chaim from ……..i dont want to be on the phone with you bec even if i wanted to give you money its another 10 minutes to get my cc and give it over with my address etc….boring, no pulled beef tacos, shalom!!

  11. Please set your phone number so your organizations name clearly shows up on the caller ID. That way I will know to only pick up if I have the time.

    Otherwise, don’t be surprised if I need to be abrupt on the phone. Often I pick up because the call appears to be coming from a cell phone, and I don’t know whether it’s about one of my kids and is urgent. That doesn’t mean you’re entitled to my time. I work from home and I never consented these phone calls.

    To be honest it’s very frustrating that there is no way to opt out of these calls. Why do organizations think they’re entitled to call everyone in the phone book?

    Please mail a letter instead. It’s much more respectful and pleasant.

  12. As Rav Ruderman ztl would say about fundraising, “The Avoda of the Kohanim in the Bais Hamikdash to a boor looked like sloshing around in blood & guts.”
    Perhaps if you’re not achieving your fundraising goals you need to look for a different kind of donor that will better appreciate what you’re doing.

  13. when i get a call askingf for a pledge i say that i dont make pledges on the phone. ‘well, last year you gave $100’ ‘well i dont make pledges on the phone. i have to check when the last time i gave to this tzedaka was and i have to check my budget for tzedaka this month.’ ‘ok, so can i write you down for $50?’ ‘i just said i dont make pledges on the phone.if you dont understand english you need a different job’

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