Janet Bahora lives in Boise and has been retired for about seven years. While working, Bahora says, she enjoyed giving to a number of charities. I believed in sharing when I could, she said. But the longer Im retired, the less I can give.
Bahora says the lack of income has her saying more and more: Im sorry, but I cant afford to give anymore, when a charity calls asking for money.
Its the response from those charities that has Bahora concerned, and thats why she called me at Better Business Bureau.
One said, Dont you care about the kids?! Bahora said. Thats a bit harsh. Bahora said, Of course, I care about everybody.
Bahoras question of me: How can I make the calls stop? As we talked through her experience, we connected a few dots and came up with a few ideas to relieve the stress of having your generosity called into question.
First, a legitimate nonprofit is going to respect its donors by removing names when asked and wont be laying a guilt trip on those unable to give.
Second, cold-call, phone-based fundraising is one of the most expensive, ineffective ways to raise money.
With those red flags immediately present, I told Bahora its my best guess shes dealing with scam artists and not a real charity.
Dont be scared to not answer the phone if you dont recognize the phone number on your caller ID. If you do answer the phone, dont feel bad about hanging up the moment you hear a request for money.
I know, most of us have been raised better than to be rude. But with so many thieves using the telephone, theres nothing wrong with hanging up on an unsolicited caller who doesnt immediately identify himself or herself, the name of the organization and the reason for the call.
The fact youre willing to talk to a cold caller is reason enough to put a check mark next to your name on the list to continue making calls.
To make the legitimate telemarketing calls stop, be sure your name and phone number are on the Federal Trade Commissions Do Not Call Registry. To add your number to the registry, call (888) 382-1222 from the phone you wish to register or go to https://www.donotcall.gov/ and click the Register Now button.
According to the FTC website, charities are not covered by the requirements of the national registry. However, if a third-party telemarketer is calling on behalf of a charity, you can ask not to receive any more calls from, or on behalf of, that charity. If a third-party telemarketer calls again on behalf of that charity, the telemarketer may be subject to a fine of up to $16,000.
If the calls keep coming, file a complaint at https://www.FTCComplaintAssistant.gov/. Just dont expect the bad guys to obey the law.
BBB operates a comprehensive charity evaluation program, the Wise Giving Alliance. Before giving, research the charity at http://snake-river.bbb.org/Find-Business-Reviews/.
Dale Dixon is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon. Reach him at 342-4649 or email@example.com.