Monday, April 16, 2007

Universities Might Want To Revisit Their Fundraising Efforts

Long or Short Capital's Mr Juggles (I'm fairly positive that's a pseudonym) did a good piece last week about why his alma mater won't see another dime from him.

Long or Short Capital: Ways to Decrease Donations
So apparently my money went towards helping girls who aren’t good at math, renting a studio in the most expensive part of town so that hippies can paint, and holding an essay contest in the women’s studies dept!?! Since when does it cost money to hold an essay contest!? Incredible. Reading that makes me wish there was a money-back guarantee. I thought the money would go towards scholarships for poor kids or research in the sciences.

In addition to the sage advice that I left for him in the comments section, I got to thinking about the marketing efforts universities go to in order to convince the alumni to donate after I got an annoying phone call this weekend from a fundraiser.

When I politely told the girl on the phone (doubtless an undergraduate earning a modest wage in addition to gaining valuable boiler room experience) to remove my number from her lists, she got on the offence with me and started in with the threats: "Okay Mr Distad, but if I remove your number, you won't recieve any invitations to alumni events!"

Oh no, not that!

Let me say that the conversation didn't go well for her after that.

This isn't the first time I've had to deal with assholish sales tactics from the University of Alberta's Development Office. I got a phone call last year from a girl who right after introducing herself, launched into the assumptive close, asking if I wanted to donate $10, $50, or $100. When I said "none of the above" she came right back with "Great, would you like to donate a larger amount?"

I've seen better manners in the showroom of a car dealership.

When I told her that the amount I wished to donate was zero, she broke into the guilt close, which was "Don't you believe in supporting advanced education?" to which I replied, "I believe in supporting education, I don't believe in supporting bad salesmanship. Good-bye." *click*

I recognize that am an especial hard case, as I can see closing attempts coming a mile away (how do you think I got this wristwatch?) but do these hamfisted telemarketing scripts acutally work on anybody who was intelligent enough to get into university in the first place? They must, or they wouldn't insist on using them. However, I wonder if the lost goodwill from the bad taste they leave in the mouths of alumni like me who refuse to donate is worth it for them?

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