Dynamist Blog

The Telemarketing Charity Racket Cont'd

Responding to my post below, reader Kenneth Gauck shares some calculations on the economics of telemarketing fundraisers:

I had done some telemarketing in the 80's for lawn care and at some point in the early nineties was in need of extra cash and answered an ad for telemarketers. We were raising money for something that sounded very much like a state agency for the blind here in Missouri. I was trained for a day, and after the second day, did some math, estimating our labor costs, the rental for the space we used, and I knew the amount of money we raised. The costs as I estimated them were about 90% of what we were raising. Even if the charity was legitimate, and I doubt it was, it was using nearly everything it raised to pay for the telemarketers. I went back the next day and explained my math. No one else seemed interested, so I went home during break and never came back.

Nonprofits are exempt from observing the federal do-not-call list. If they call, hang up. If you want to be polite first say, "Sorry, we're not interested and do not call again." Or ask to be contacted only by mail.

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