This past Friday, April 6th, 2012, CBC marketplace ran an episode called The Busted Edition. You can see it here in its entirety.
In this episode, CBC turned its attention to World Vision Canada and how they recently notified their donors that their monthly gift will be upgraded from $35/month to $39/month due to increased costs, inflation, etc. All the donor had to do was contact World Vision and say they were ok with it or not.
But, here’s the part that CBC jumped on – if I, as a donor, did nothing, they upgraded my gift automatically for me. I automatically “opted-in” by not responding.
This is a common and hated practice that banks, electricity and phone company’s take part in… but World Vision? One of Canada’s top charities?
I tweeted World Vision about it and not only was astounded by their answers but it was clear they didn’t see the problem – they still don’t.
Here is a selection of tweets as the evening progressed.
I’m not arguing that World Vision doesn’t do good work, or that they are justified in raising (ehm) their “rates”.
The issue is that great donor centered fundraising means that you allow your donors opt in to EVERYTHING. Every increases in donations, your communications, every point and type of contact. (I’m obviously not talking about acquisition.)
Just because I don’t call or mail or ask that I do not want it, doesn’t mean I’m optting in.
I hope that World Vision and every other charity who takes part in this practice gives their head a shake and reconsiders their “policy”.
I had a final laugh as someone tweeted me, repeatedly, finally asking what my problem was and who do I work for?
My answer: “Donors.”
Put their needs before yours regardless of your policies and justifications.
What do you think?