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Telefund: threat or menace?


A few weeks ago, I got a bunch of calls on my land line whose caller ID identified them as being from something called Telefund. Pretty much all of my friends know to call my cell phone instead of my land line, so I rarely answer my land line, especially when the caller looks like a fundraising organization.

But I was getting a lot of calls from them, and I wondered who they were. I searched online for the phone number they were calling from, and found a comments page that explained that they're a telephone fundraising organization used by a lot of progressive organizations; the comments page linked to a DailyKos piece titled “Say No to Telefund!”, written by someone who used to work there.

Eventually the calls went away, and I forgot about it. But tonight I got another one, so I answered it to ask them to take me off their calling list.

The guy told me he was calling from Equality California (an organization I support). I asked him to remove me from the calling list. He said that he would, but that he was calling to ask if he could send me some materials about Prop 8. I said I get my info online so I didn't want to receive anything in the mail. He tried to tell me something else, I forget what. I said that I could see he was calling from Telefund and asked him to take me off their list. He said “Telefund is just a channel we use.” I dunno, it's possible that everything I've read about is them is wrong and he really was an Equality CA employee or volunteer calling me using Telefund's phone number, but somehow I doubt it.

(By the way, I pretty much always ask organizations I donate to to not contact me. But it's conceivable that I failed to ask EQCA that.)

I asked him to remove me from the list. He said he would, but he asked if I still supported the rights of lesbians and gays. I said, “I have to get off the phone now, so please remove me from your list.” He thanked me and got off the phone.

Based on my limited interaction with them thus far, I gotta say that the DailyKos piece looks pretty plausible.

Progressive organizations, if you're using Telefund for your fundraising, have you read that piece? Have you investigated its claims? Have you considered the possibility that Telefund callers might be (a) claiming to actually be part of your group, (b) refusing to take no for an answer, and (c) tarnishing your group's reputation?

There's gotta be a better way to raise funds.

Oh, and I've donated plenty to Equality CA, and expect to continue to do so. But I do it online, where telephone fundraising organizations can't take up to 65% of my donation for being obnoxious and annoying.

P.S.: That's not even considering the claims that Telefund has unfortunate labor practices; see the abovelinked DailyKos piece for details. I have no idea whether those claims are true or not, but if your organization uses Telefund, you might want to look into them.

(P.P.S.: In case anyone doesn't get the reference, the title of this entry is a joke referring to the Spider-Man comic. I'm not claiming that Telefund is actually a threat or a menace; it's just an annoyance.)


That DailyKos article was an interesting read. I get calls from Telefund all the time, but have never picked up the phone. Now I'm especially glad of that!

Yeah, I was hoping that picking up the phone and getting off their list would reduce the annoyance level, but in the short term it didn't. But in the longer term it might; depends on whether they really did take me off their list.

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