Charities Alienating Supporters: I’m Mad at MADD

Yesterday my office phone rang, and when I picked it up, I instantly felt a small surge of anger. Why? Because it was MADD (Mother’s Against Drunk Driving). So, yeah, I was mad at MADD. How could I possibly be upset at a charity that does such worthwhile work? I’ve supported them in the past with donations, and I support their goals. But somehow they got my work number, and it drives me nuts to be interrupted by a telemarketer when I’m in my office working.

The first time they called, I very politely asked that they remove my work number from their database, and gave them my home number so they could use that instead. The woman I spoke to was very nice and said it would be updated within the next 24 hours. A week later, I got the same phone call – once again, being very polite, I explained the situation and asked them to remove my work number from their database. Two weeks later, they again called me on my work number. Feeling a bit of frustration by this point, I explained that I’d already asked for my number to be removed twice prior, and the woman apologized and said she’d take it right to her supervisor. Guess what happened a week after that? Another phone call to my business line. Again, I explained it all. Again, they insisted they’d remove my work number from their database. A week later it happened again. I requested the same thing again.

A few weeks passed, and I thought the problem was solved, but yesterday they called me again. This time I calmly explained to the woman that I had no choice but to block their number from getting through to me again because they were not honouring my five-time request to be contacted at a different phone number. I don’t know how MADD raises their money – if they use in-house employees or a contracted service (I bet the latter have somewhat, ah, “looser” ethics), but this experience has certainly left a bad impression of their organization with me…

  • chrisgohlke

    We have a do not call list here but it is not overly effective. I’d bet they are a contracted service. They do that for the firefighters here. They always imply that they are a firefighter, but I ask them point blank since my stepmom is a firefighter and I know they don’t actually make the calls. Then I ask them what % there company takes and what the firefighters get (only like 10% goes to the charity).

    On principle I never support a charity that ignores my privacy requests and avoid giving in ways that are just passthroughs taking a cut (like the United Way).

  • Cold Flame

    That is absurd that you had to take that kind of extreme action to stop being contacted by them. Absolutely ridiculous in fact. I would have been far less understanding and patient than you were during that ordeal.

    You should consider phoning their head office and mentioning this to them, because if they are contracting that service out, then they need to be aware of what that contractor is doing to their reputation, etc… The fact that you gave them an alternate number is a testament to what a great supported you are of their charity… believe me when I say they won’t be happy about your story!

  • Cold Flame,
    That’s a good idea. I’ll email them and bring this matter to their attention – I’d think (and hope) that this isn’t something they’re aware of an are not intentionally doing. I can’t imagine any charity that would want to leave this impression with a former supporter.

  • So it turns out that they were having some sort of a glitch regarding removing phone numbers – I emailed the CEO of MADD and he passed it along to someone else to respond to (without saying anything to me, which is a bit disappointing) and the woman I exchanged messages with looked into the issue. She didn’t give me any specifics, but indicated that they’d found and fixed the problem. Of course, it’s not like I’ll ever know about it because I’ve blocked their number from contacting my business line. šŸ˜‰