Telemarketing: Why Do We Do It?
AICR uses the telephone to raise funds for cancer research and education and to recruit volunteers to further AICR’s mission. We often get asked about our use of telemarketing. In the interest of transparency, here’s a quick Q & A that you might find useful.
How do I get you to stop calling me?
That’s simple: If you don’t want to be called, just tell us. It’s never our wish to bother or inconvenience you in any way. After all, if our attempts to reach you make you angry or upset, it’s very unlikely that when we do manage to reach you, you’ll be in a mood to support our research. So if you don’t want to be called, that’s all we need to know.
But – and this is important – we do need to know that you don’t want to be called.
The easiest way to be removed from our calling list is to complete our Do Not Call form at www.aicr.org/dontcallme.
Once you complete the form, we will suppress your telephone number from future calling campaigns. Note that it may take up to 72 hours to remove your information from our calling list. You can also reach us in person at 1-800-843-8114 weekdays from 9am to 5pm Eastern Standard Time to request that we remove you from our calling list.
I registered with the National Do Not Call List, so why are you calling me at all?
AICR is a not-for-profit charitable organization, and as such is exempt from the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call requirements. (Political organizations are also exempt.) It is, however, AICR’s policy to always honor a request not to be called. Simply fill out the form at www.aicr.org/dontcallme to have us remove your from our calling list.
I get multiple calls from a number I don’t recognize. Is that you?
During any given AICR campaign, we will only try to reach you once per day. We also comply with FCC regulations which state that calls can only be made between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. So if you’re receiving more than one call per day, or receiving calls very early or very late, those calls are not from us.
If, however, you believe for any reason we are in fact responsible for multiple calls, or calls outside the mandated window, call us at 1-800-843-8114. We’ll take your information, and investigate immediately.
Telemarketing is expensive. Why do you spend money on it?
Simply put, telemarketing works. We realize it’s unpopular with many people. That is why we always honor a request not to call someone. However, in the last fiscal year alone, telemarketing and volunteer recruitment efforts generated approximately $2 million in net income for AICR research and education programs.
That’s $2 million that otherwise would not have been raised, and thus could not have gone to support our innovative research projects and life-saving education campaigns. During these challenging economic times there are fewer people giving to charity, and government funding of cancer research and education is lower than it has been in years, so every dollar we can raise is crucial.
AICR has to place the costs of telemarketing in context. It is only one fundraising tool among many, and we balance a mix of techniques, both the more expensive (telemarketing) and the less expensive (major gifts, bequests, foundation support, etc).
Fundraising is a process. Telemarketing, like direct mail, helps us identify individuals who are sympathetic to our mission. The way we interact with a given donor evolves over time. As someone comes to know AICR and the vital work we do better and better, their support grows. Someone who answers a telephone call or responds to a direct mail appeal may ultimately, for example, include a bequest to us in their will, and thus help make AICR-funded research projects possible.
I read that only a small percentage of telemarketing donations actually reach the charities.
This issue is complicated by the fact that the percentages specified in a charity’s contract with telemarketing firms vary from state to state. Many states require that a firm guarantee a minimum amount that will go to the charities. That amount is always low, as firms take a very conservative approach.
But in practice, a charity like AICR generally receives more than the stated minimum. This amount is reported in financial statements at the conclusion of the contract period. Overall, the money we spend to raise money via telemarketing must be considered in the context of all that we raise and spend.
Thanks for spending the time to get a picture of AICR’s use of telemarketing for fundraising and volunteer recruitment.
Here’s the bottom line: The generous gifts of our supporters, however they come to us, have made over 700 AICR research grants possible, and have allowed us to deliver practical, science-based advice on diet, physical activity and weight management to millions of Americans. We are deeply grateful for all the support we receive from our donors across America.