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

  • Blog Post by: Dan Cain
  • 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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