Letter to the editor – Charity calls not exempt

To the editor,

You are on the right track [Donors need a break, Philanthropy Journal, 10/6/03].

Many charities are abusive in their phoning and mailing practices, claiming that anyone is fair game for the appeal of the moment.

They swap lists and use sophisticated demographic tracking — in essence acting exactly like a marketing enterprise.

Charities should not be exempt from the do-not-call list. In fact, they should be its advocates.

My experience with the use of telephone contacts has always been based on some clear concepts:

* The organization has an affiliation, such as alumni and members.

* I have a reason to call.

* I send out a lead letter in advance of the telephone call to alert the donor to the call and its purpose, as well as to give the recipient an opportunity to decline the phone call.

We also created our own do-not-call list from donors who requested not to be phoned.

Active organizations can still use the phone to its full advantage and advance the purposes of the national do-not-call list.

Michael Guillot, founding partner and president, Virtual Development Group, Covington, La.

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