Dan Cain

Dan Cain is president of RS Eden, following the merger of Eden Programs and Reentry Services, Inc. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Eden Programs and Chair of the Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensing Advisory Council. He has 34 years experience in the Chemical Dependency field working as a counselor, counselor supervisor and administrator. He is past Chair of the Chemical Dependency Regulation Coalition and the Hennepin County Council of Chemical Dependency Programs. Read more about Dan Cain..

Deluge of non-profit solicitations may not get desired results.

Posted by: Dan Cain Updated: November 17, 2010 - 1:49 PM

Yesterday was "Give to the Max Day", a designation cooked up by an organization called either GiveMN, or Razoo, depending on where you look.  Apparently the way it works is, your non-profit organization registers with them and then you solicit online contributions from your email list.  Then at pre-designated times throughout the day, your non-profit can benefit from an additional $1000 gift based upon a drawing, and by how many donations you have received.

From noon on Monday, until midnight last night, I received 200 emails asking me to send money electronically.  After the first 20 or so, I simply deleted anything that said GiveMN, or Give to the Max in the subject line.

I work for a non-profit corporation that, in 2011, will be 40 years old.  We do not rely a great deal on donations because we are a fee for service agency.  But on the rare occasions we have solicited personal donations for a special project, we do so with a personal contact and an explanation of what we do, why we do it, and what we intend to use the money for.  We don't do it often.  But I am sympathetic to those organizations who do regularly have to raise money.

I actually did give money to one particular organization that I feel is worthy, and that I am familiar with.  So the designation of Give to the Max Day was not totally wasted on me.  And I would have given to them anyway.  However, I don't think I am unique in saying that, after a while, I became desensitized to the pleas.  It's like when I receive an annoying phone call to give to some organization while I'm in the middle of dinner.  As often as not, I will simply hang up, or if I'm in a particularly bad move, I may just set the phone down when I hear that annoying silence while whomever is on the other line determines if it is really me, and not an answering machine.  Then I'll eventually hang up the phone after I finish eating.  Apparently enough of us have caller ID, and have taken similar action, that some marketing whiz had to come up with a computer generated and supported system to try to re-capture our attention.

I am sure that those who thought this up mean well.  At least I hope they do and aren't just gathering information they can compile into a list to sell to others who send broadcast emails.  And I know many of the organizations that participated, and know that they do good work.  But I would caution those that particpate.  You may have a cause that is truly worthy of support, but seek it online, in the manner described.  Then you risk simply getting lost in the clutter.

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