DONOR BEWARE!





     

TELEMARKETING FUNDRAISING IN AUSTRALIA         


"Hello! How are you today? I am calling on behalf of myself!"


Fundrazing  is a social justice  project and a community resource for assisting the public in their communications and transactions with professional telemarketing fundraisers.

The professional telemarketing fundraising industry has a storied history of malpractice and it's conventions are at worst corrupt, at best lax and inefficient. Professional telamarketing fundraisers raise funds for charity to make money for themselves. Although acceptable reasons for such business activity can be offered it seems that the professional telemarketing fundraisers themselves don't think so, as they are adroit and determined at concealing their identity and role. Through its services a significant  part of charitable collections has been morphed by business interests into a fraudulent activity operated by crude sales and marketing practices. Professional telemarketing fundraising spoils and abuses public generosity. These professional fundraisers have found it easy to trick, cajole and deceive the public into parting with substantial sums of money in the name of charity while keeping most of it. The public has been duped so that these professional fundraisers can maximise the profits they make. We are not talking about isolated cases of extreme, illegal malpractice. We are talking about the industry largely, even when it's conducted by or on behalf of respected, even iconic charities. Professional fundraising provides a service which has value: eg running raffles which can be an effective method of gathering largesse from people who have only a moderate commitment to the charitable cause. The challenge of moderate commitment can be incentivised by a wager for an attractive prize. Problems arise when these wagers are misrepresented as donations, when the professional fundraiser misrepresents itself as the charity and when it inhibits choice by presenting the wagers as the only way to support the charity. A fundraising tactic found to be effective at syphoning off loose change from the uninspired masses becomes the means of abusing genuine donors and turning those  committed supporters into gamblers more than givers without their knowledge or proper consent. Even more than that perhaps, it becomes the means whereby charities providing a modest social benefit are disproportionately funded (or whereby its auxiliary  expenditures are funded) by clueless members of the public who if properly informed (including not being improperly informed) would put their own often scarce contributions to causes they adjudge as more worthy. It appears blatantly true that the cynicism of telemarketing professional fundraisers is to honour the old adage of a fool and his/her money being easily parted and that in the slick and tacky jungle of silver tongued marketing those so stupid as to fall for facetious overwrought and transparently false spiels deserve to be fleeced! Having a telemarketer in your face (or your ear hole) weaving a magical spiel is effective in making a minor charity seem prominent or making its funding requirement seem more urgent than it is. We have first hand experience of startup charities made up of inexperienced staff approaching the public with representations which make them appear prominent reputable organisations. And whereby funds raised through telemarketing will go to pay for the staff of these startups. Some of the main concerns we present are:


* Professional telemarketing fundraisers representing themselves as charities rather than as fundraising service providers for charities.

*  Passing off fundraising gaming as equivalent to making a donation. This is achieved by underinforming and by not correcting misinformation expressed by fundraising prospects.

* Being deceitful about the portion of fundraising income which provides for the charitable purpose ie the cost of fundraising.

Being disingenuous or misleading about the fundraising purpose eg general purpose fundraising purported as local or specific purpose purpose fundraising. Or fundraising for administrative resources presented as raising funds for direct local services.  This is achieved by intentionally vague spiels and the ad lib of telemarketers spurred on by commissions and the threat of loss of benefits if sales targets are not met or exceeded.

Placing financial burdens on the financially disadvantaged by mercenary sales practices.

*
Charities which begin at Home

Many people have an instinctive sympathy for charitable work done for the common good or to help relieve social problems. Professional fundraisers breach that trust, seize it as a business opportunity. They take advantage of people's unguarded trust and sense of responsible duty. Although there is nothing wrong of course with making profits and nothing wrong even with having no interest other than the making of profit out of charity, most people would deem it to be wrong (we suppose) when it is done deceitfully and dishonestly even if is seen as a necessary means to a justified end. Professional fundraisers can employ a devious piece of rationale here: the more money they make the more charity gets. That then becomes license to do 'whatever it takes'.

Excellent base hourly pay + uncapped bonuses Telemarketing for a top charity. Learn key sales and marketing skills as a professional Fundraiser and give yourself global career opportunities to work in the Charity & NGO and Telemarketing sector in any Country. You will be paid an excellent hourly rate and weekly bonus on top. First class training & skills coaching programs. Excellent hourly rate plus bonus. Formal qualifications are not required, but a “sales success“ attitude is essential to excel in this role! Students , Backpackers and Seniors Welcome. Motivation to exceed your target, able to work in a high pressure environment. Ability to learn how to handle objections. World class charity partners. Experience in sales or customer service, Basic computer and literacy skills. The ideal candidate will be confident in speaking to customers, target driven and wanting to exceed KPI's. Fund raising for Australia's leading charities. YOUR BENEFITS: Base rate of $23.30/hr. OTE $28.30/hr. Pay rate of up to $43.30/hr possible!  Generous incentives and bonuses!  Some of our top fundraisers double their pay!

(Actual excerpts from recent recruiting ads for professional fundraising in Australia. All punctuation and capitalisation is from the original.)



Members of the public who give to charity deserve fair play; the unhindered, unimpeded ability to make an informed choice when they part with money in the act of giving to charity. Our focus is on those telemarketing gaming campaigns (car or cash raffles, house raffles and the like) which plague the privacy of home life and often burden the limited means of generous, trusting supporters.

Each state and territory has it's own rules for giving money to charity whether it be donating or entering some sort of  gaming activity such as those ubiquitous and silly lucky number raffles which mock the solemnity and respect many feel about giving to charity. Gaming is the preferred weapon of choice for  professional fundraisers.

Many people don't  understand the difference between gaming and donating. The effect of verbal sleight of hand is the widely  held misconception that entering a gaming activity such as a raffle, lottery or art union is as good as donating. That is exactly what the professional fundraiser likes you to think and they deliberately bring about that effect both at management level and the front line point of sales. It's done more by omitting to properly inform rather than deliberately misinforming. This enables wrong doing to sneak inside "letter of the law" propriety. The telemarketer may genuinely not know. Management delivers selective  information starved training that is sales based and avoids information that might properly inform and give choice to consumers. If you reject the professional fundraisers overtures and donate independently a donation forwards entirely to the charity (a small administrative fee will probably apply). The source of the confusion is the deceitful conduct of professional  fundraisers whose interests are served by blurring your understanding. This helps them evade the issue of the amount that they and their masters receive from the money gained by the fundraising venture. The point of sales telemarketer is working for their own benefit and their loyalty is to the professional marketing firm which employs them. At this point it is important for us to do what the professional fundraiser won't do - and that is respect your free choice. If anyone fancies a flutter, is attracted by the prizes then that is of course a choice available to them. For some people it is a raffle that interests them and if only 1% went to charity it would be 1% more than would satisfy them. Some others, perhaps many are less than true believers of the particular cause being marketed but they still have sufficient commitment to make a contribution if there is something in it for them.  So be that. But every single contributor to charity gaming deserves to know what proportion benefits the charity - as well as how it is spent by the charity.

It is not simply a matter of avoiding charities which use third party professional fundraisers (or at least avoiding dealing with those third parties) because the fundraising conducted by charities in-house (without resort to a third party) can be a problem as well. For example some charities whilst fundraising in-house are no more efficient than comparable  fundraising conducted by third party providers. This means that even though their fundraising income is not reduced by the profit that would be drawn by third parties they yet manage to be no more efficient than commercial operators conducting a comparable fundraising campaign.

Our focus to begin with is on telemarketing because of the high impact it has on households and because for many Australians it is their main method of giving to charity. Telemarketing is the junk food of fundraising and like junk food consumption tends to attract the thoughtless, the careless, and or the disempowered - though many of these will have their heart in the right place, perhaps somewhere between their sleeve and the telemarketer's scoping sight. The burden that telemarketing fundraising places on the financially disadvantaged is a major concern.


To begin with a lot of the published information we put here will be information tailored for organisations ie the charitable organisations and the professional fundraising companies. And you will have to pick your way through it for relevance. This is because most of the published information is mainly directed at those two groups. Information specifically produced to enlighten the public about fundraising and especially professional fundraising is less than it should be in some states. This is odd because the public players can be in the hundreds of thousands. It's the public  which put up the funds for charity and  pay (in almost complete ignorance of) the wages and commissions/profits for the professional fundraisers and keep a vast, dishonest industry a going concern.



                  

                                 

                                

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