I donate to a favourite charity, the RSPCA, monthly by direct debit. It is entirely possible that I could be open to increasing my contribution or giving to other organisations but I have grown so tired of the various charities’ fund raising methods that I have completely closed my mind to the idea. I am sick of being constantly accosted in the street and asked for money and I understand that for many unwitting victims it gets a whole lot worse than that.
Harassment by Phone
There is increasing evidence that donating to a charity can lead to harassment. People are being pestered by phone calls asking for more money and it looks like they won’t take no for an answer. Victims are reporting being called daily for weeks and even being asked to leave money in their will. As if payment protection calls weren’t bad enough many are now enduring a bombardment from charities.
Complaints about phone calls from charities have trebled in the past two years. Those who have been kind enough to make a one off donation or to pay via a monthly direct debit are being pestered to increase the amount they pay and the tactics used are aggressive. The charities employ outside agencies to raise funds for them and these organisations needs to pile on the pressure in order to make a profit.
On The Street
It would appear that the annoying and intimidating calls have partly replaced the practice of approaching people in the street. For that, at least, I am grateful as it was getting to the point when I couldn’t make it from one end of the high street to the other without running the gauntlet of evading the charity fundraisers. They haven’t disappeared totally, though, and I have got into the habit of simply putting my hand up and saying no before they even open their mouths!
Just recently I needed to visit my local supermarket. I was approaching the entrance when someone appeared from nowhere to thrust a list in my hand. They were there to gain donations in the shape of off food for local food banks. I was outraged. I don’t want to have to deal with these people when I am shopping and I object to being given a list of things to buy at the door. In these harsh economic times many families struggle to afford the food they need and do not need to be made to feel guilty for not adding extras to their trolleys. There was also the fact that I was standing outside of Tesco who have slightly more money than me and perhaps should be the ones making the donations.
Helping the Animals
It was not the first time that I have been strong armed outside of the supermarket. On several occasions I have been asked to purchase dog food or cat food for animal charities. Even though I am sympathetic to their cause and that of the Guide Dogs for the Blind who accosted me this weekend, I will not make donations or give any personal details because I fear being pursued at a later date.
My fears are justified as it turns out. Many of those who have complained about being inundated with calls have reported that the bombardment started shortly after they made a first donation. It is time that the charities put a stop to this practice and for their own benefit as well as that of the public. If the current situation persists, people will simply stop donating at all. Then what will they do?
Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her shop.