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The context of this “Media Watch” post can easily be applied to the RFSA and their fund raising model. If you want your donations to benefit your local firefighters then give your money directly to them…

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This article was published in The Daily Telegraph by Kelly Burke on September 29, 2016.

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Sarah Steen has been pestered over the phone by fundraising charities and has had enough / Picture: Adam Taylor

CHARITIES using aggressive and persistent profit-making companies to do their telephone fundraising are paying them up to 50 cents for every dollar raised.

Research from the consumer advocacy group CHOICE has found unsolicited calls for cash are at unprecedented levels, with many charities now outsourcing their cold calling to commercial entities such as Mondial, Insight Charity Fundraising and 2evolve.

These companies are ­exploiting an exemption in the Do Not Call laws that ­allows charities to contact ­people whose phone numbers are ­listed on the register.

Under NSW law, third parties collecting for charities are entitled to retain up to 50 per cent of gross proceeds, without any requirement to disclose to donors their commercial status.

Nor are the commercial outfits under any obligation to adhere to the Fundraising ­Institute of Australia’s code of conduct when it comes to telemarketing in a pestering or harassing manner.

“Calls asking for money are intrusive and put vulnerable members of society at risk when they are hounded week in and week out,” CHOICE’s spokesman Tom Godfrey said.

“Of course charities need to be able to raise funds to survive but when the nature of the fundraising verges on harassment, it’s bad for the charities and the community they are set up to serve.”

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Sarah Steen is sick of receiving fundraising calls / Picture: Adam Taylor

A national survey of more than 1600 18- to 89-year-old Australians found that one in four were receiving unwanted calls from charities on a weekly basis. When it came to older Australians, 72 per cent of 65- to 89-years-olds had received persistent requests for money from charities over the phone.

National Seniors CEO Dagmar Parsons said it had reached the point where many older Australians were considering disconnecting their landlines. “We are hearing from our members that the calls are making them anxious and they are reluctant to answer the phone,” she said.

Almost 70 per cent of those surveyed had their landline listed on the Do Not Call register and 32 per cent had their mobile number listed.

But charities are one of the few exempt groups permitted to call numbers on the register. Both National Seniors and CHOICE are now calling for a change in the legislation, ­allowing people to opt out of any call asking for money.

In response to CHOICE’s claims, the Fundraising Institute of Australia went on the attack yesterday.

“Nearly every member of (CHOICE’s) board is involved with a charitable cause that makes fundraising appeals to the community using the very channels they are trying to kill off,” the institute’s CEO Rob Edwards said.

“What is behind this? We would like to know and have asked these members of the philanthropic community to please explain.”

Mr Edwards said charities were working in the public ­interest.

Sarah Steen has been pestered over the phone by fundraising charities and said she has had enough.


A few thoughts to consider:

  1. Why do volunteer brigades need additional funding anyway – they should be fully funded by the state government?
  2. Why do Brigades in wealthy local government areas have all the bells and whistles and remote rural brigades struggle to get the resources they need? Have a look for yourself (chrome bull bars and other unnecessary accoutrements in some areas and it’s hard to get PPE in other areas).

You may also want to look at our post titled: What are you doing with all that money?

Another interesting read titled: Telephone Line – ridding yourself of unsolicited calls.

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  • A letter was sent to the new Minister for Emergency Services, The Hon. David Elliott, MP on the 6th April, 2015. It was prepared by the VFFA Vice President, Brian Williams and it provided the Minister with an overview of…

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