February 17, 2012

charities & dogfish

OK charities, listen, i get it. curbside donation appeals are hardly a rewarding task. most people try their hardest to get by without making eye contact so they don't have to talk to you; even folks who DO make eye contact ignore you and rush by without stopping to talk. and then even those who you do manage to stop are likely rude most of the time, and i'm guessing only a tiny fraction of people agree to hear you out and/or donate.

so when you DO get someone to stop and listen, and that person says they'll donate? LEAVE HER BE FTLOG.

planusa.org, which is legitimately a very good & worthy charity, has had volunteers stationed outside my metro stop for the past few weeks, trying to flag down commuters to solicit donations. about two weeks ago a guy named patrick successfully got me to stop, went into his spiel, and convinced me that child trafficking is bad and that i should donate some money to prevent it. all good, right?

yeah, no. i told him i liked the charity, and did they have a card with a website? because i'd like to donate online. he told me i should give him my credit card number there, on the sidewalk, and donate on the spot. i said no thank you, i would rather donate securely online. patrick launched into a 5 minute long argument with me about other places i used my card that were unsafe, and how i should trust him and a proven charity and just write down my credit card number on the form on his clipboard already.

look. people. i know that every time i use my card, it opens me up to risk. i know that i have to give my card to waiters at restaurant, where they take it out of my line of sight, and could do naughty things. but just because these are necessary risks involved with owning a bank card, does this mean i may as well ALSO give my bank information to the nice nigerian price who emails me all the time? no, no it does not.

it's the argument that if you're not going to eat only grass and carrots all day long, there's NO POINT in having lowfat yogurt instead of ice cream, because WHY BOTHER if one other thing you ate was unhealthy?

(it's a bad argument, is my point.)

so basically patrick here wouldn't let me leave even though i promised to donate online. he got kind of aggressive about it, trying his best to bully me into donating right then. he FOLLOWED ME about 20 feet down the walk, chastising me that i should donate to him directly. i asked him at one point if he got commission or recognition for the donations, because i'd use his name online if so; he claimed that was not the case but that "only 1% of people donate online."

"well then, luckily for you, i'll help bring those numbers up," i replied. it didn't help.

i eventually had to abruptly walk away from him because he made it clear that wouldn't stop. i was so irritated by the whole thing that i was really hesitant to donate to them at ALL at that point. you should not HARASS people into volunteering their money, you know? but, i HAD said i would donate, so i did. a $50 donation via their website when i got home.

yesterday, patrick was at my metro stop again. he pounced on me immediately - "hey! remember me? patrick!-" and started his spiel again. i interrupted him with "yes, i do, and i donated $50 on your website, as promised."

"oh. so will you donate today?"

"i.. i just told you that i donated..?"

"yes, but that was like 2 weeks ago," patrick pointed out incredulously. his tone turned reproachful. "don't you think you should give more...?"

HELPFUL TIP TO CHARITIES: do not attempt to shame people who have JUST DONATED by suggesting their contribution was meager and not helpful enough. YOU ARE LITERALLY BEGGING ME FOR MONEY ON THE SIDEWALK.


in less ranty news, are any of you familiar with dogfish head beers? they're a local(-ish) brewery, and when marie and i recently found out our friends planned to make a roadtrip there, we asked* if we could join them and planned a mini weekend getaway.

*it was less "asking" and more "demanding" that we come along, technically. details.

if you're local, i highly recommend the tour. it's very fun & VERY informative.

and they let you drink a pretty good quantity of beer. :)

have a great long weekend, everyone! my weekend, while it should be quite nice, will be exactly the same length as normal weekends because i do not have monday off. TERRIBLE.


  1. I... oh. My. I am used to the people who are like, "No donation is so small!" and I hand over $10 feeling super wimpy and cheap and they are like fawning all over me to say thank you. Methinks that Patrick needs a little more training. Or maybe a new job. Like maybe he should do the kind of volunteering where THAT level of persistence and emotional manipulation will pay off. Like, I don't know, going somewhere where doctors refuse to treat women and chasing after them until they do. I don't know. I just totally made that up.

  2. TOO small. Not so. TOO.

  3. That drives me BERSERK. I once had someone call me from a society for people who were blind, and I was interested but on the other hand I don't donate to people who contact ME. So I asked for them to send me info in the mail, and he started arguing/badgering (I said I didn't give money over the phone, and he said "EVER ORDER A PIZZA??"), which completely convinced me it was a fraud. And it WASN'T. It WASN'T a fraud. But they lost my donation because they acted like it.

  4. (Probably this is an unnecessary clarification, but I don't mean that I don't donate to any charity that makes the first move. I mean, I don't just hand over money or info to people I've never heard of, who contact me on the phone and just ASK for it.)

  5. Ugh. So obnoxious. We get a lot of pretty motivated donation solicitors at my school, but they're never quite that aggressive. However, we are being harassed by the census bureau and have been since 2008. But that's a whole long story that I won't get into right now.

    As for Dogfish Head beers, they are delicious!

    We live within walking distance of Redhook Brewery and they have a tour that only costs ONE DOLLAR! And you get lots of beer. It's fun :-)

  6. I got stopped by someone last night and I asked for a card and I got the same response. I really hate these people.

  7. Oh this kind of thing chaps my hind parts too! I also really hate that donating once opens up the floodgates to endless calls asking for even more. Political campaigns are first to mind in this area. It certainly makes an argument for anonymous donations.

  8. This is why 'one and done' has become so popular. The savvy charities say 'if you give us a donation now we'll never ask for another.' People are so delighted not to be pestered that they give generously and often give again later without being asked.
    Whereas Patrick? Just a jerk

  9. Wow what a jerk, seriously. He must get a commission, or have to get a certain number of donations a day, or something. That's the only reason I can think of for him to be such a JERK. Also? Love Dogfish head. JEALOUS.

  10. Wow. Patrick kind of needs a talking to.

  11. I still think that dude wanted your card number so he could go crazy and buy stuff with it.

    And BOO for not getting Monday off!!! I can still call your work on Monday morning and call them bad names. Want me to?

  12. Forget about winery tours, I'm going to dogfish head when I come to town!

  13. This is why I avoid those people waiting outside to ask me for money. I just don't think it is effective marketing for non-profits nor does it increase the likelihood that people will donate (especially when you have untrained folks like Patrick doing it!). I've gotten flack for not giving enough. What?!? That's some bullshit. And flack for wanting to donate on line when I don't have cash. Total bullshit. As a person who works for a non-profit, I'm glad we don't do that!

  14. Patrick needs to slow his roll. I'm seriously impressed that you donated after he was such a jackass to you. I'm not mature enough - I would have been so annoyed by the whole thing that I would have punished the entire charity by not donating.

  15. Patrick sounds like a panhandler to whom I once offered food. He turned down my food with some lame story about why he could no longer eat that particular thing. I ended up giving him a dollar (which wold have bought him at least 2 of the same thing) but of course, we know that $1 didn't go for food...

    I wouldn't trust Patrick as far as you could throw him. And I've seen proof that you are one strong woman!

  16. I think it really takes a certain type of personality to try to solicit for charities cold on the street like that... he had the pushy part down, but geez... he was harassing you! I can't believe he asked you to donate again. I may have snapped at that point!

  17. This makes me so angry! You probably know that most organizations contract out their street fundraising to companies that hire people on & pay them hourly just to do this - in other words, people like Patrick don't actually work for organizations like PlanUSA, except for a little bit as a contract worker. I have a friend who did this work for a bit & HATED IT because people were so mean to him - but the converse side of this is that sometimes the people doing the work are in the gig because they're PUSHY AS HELL, which can at times be helpful but sometimes, as demonstrated here, defeats the purpose of endearing people to the organization & the cause...