In Uncharitable Me I railed about the obnoxious-ness of some donation seekers, but then did end up allowing myself to be stopped by the Save The Children guys recently. I wasn’t thinking of doing this, it’s just the people who stopped me this time erm, just didn’t turn me off. And somehow I actually listened to them long enough to agree to go thru with it (could be because they were both from the Phillippines and I could understand their English better/ they weren’t speaking to me in rapid-fire Cantonese)…
Then I relegated the receipts to the Black Hole That Is The Bottom Of My Handbag for another week or so before rediscovering them during Excavation Exercise To Find Rockstar Pen And Paper To Scrawl On Over Sunday Lunch. (Hence crumpled, dog-eared envelope and Rockstar forbidding me from folding his Sunday Bible Class papers to put in my bag. They are to be given to Daddy for safekeeping (Uh, yeah good luck with that ))
Anyway, realizing lotsa people probably wouldn’t want to get near enough these guys on the street to actually find out what this is like, I then decided to write about it. Since I am going to avoid collection boxes for fear of obnoxious experiences from now on, I can carry on the delusion I am actually a good person because now I’m paying something monthly to Save The Children so here goes:
1) Fork over credit card, contact number and mailing address (I explained investment products the same way – give the worst first – cannot take the worst bit? Don’t waste time, look for another option) – they will call you to confirm the donation and send a “donor’s welcome pack” so I think without this info they won’t accept your donation
2) Save The Children guy/girl-on-street will ask you umpteen times if you understand this is a recurring monthly donation (there’s also a 6 monthly option which I didn’t go for, guess then you do the same drill but 6-monthly)
3) STC person points out number to call should you wish at any time to halt the donation - they also circled it on my receipt, which is how I then managed to locate the number and test it out* after forgetting about it for a week
4) STC person fills in 2 forms, one a monthly donation form and the other a donation checklist
5) STC person points out their ID number and name on your receipt (in case you want to call and complain about them being obnoxious I guess)
*What happens next?
a) I got the verification phone call already, it was maybe 1-2 minutes – surprisingly fast, with 2 impatient men Rockstar and Kings sitting in the car waiting to go for Saturday brunch they still managed to verify everything without annoying anyone. And I’m again reminded it is a recurring monthly donation. No pushing to donate further, just a thank you.
b) I called the cancellation number just to see if I get put on hold or if it runs straight to voicemail. Without actually cancelling my donation, the process seems quite painless. My call is picked up in a half-doz rings on my first attempt by a young-sounding woman who requests my name, cellphone number (not the donation receipt or my newly-allocated donor-ID, I note – ie I could theoretically have cancelled it even if I lost the receipt BUT of course don’t lose the receipt in case I was just lucky that day) and reason for cancellation. I’m also told there’s no wait time, cancellation generally takes effect immediately. (I’m told la, I didn’t actually cancel so no firsthand experience)
c)The receipt says I will receive an SMS confirming the 1st deduction within a month, welcome pack, regular updates (I guess regarding how they spend the money), and a reminder the donation will appear on my monthly credit card statements
d) Will update this space if I get any annoying marketing emails or calls for more donations… so far nothing. Just polite, sincere thank yous from all the STC people I spoke to.
Verdict: As of now, I’d do it again. After the initial aversion to filling out the credit card and contact info I’ve felt no pain. (Also, I shop online a lot and got my card details filched twice before I ever tried to donate thru these means – first time, HSBC required my online purchase confirmation email details, second time they picked up the dodgy transactions before I did… both times I got my money back). And mail me if you want the cancellation number! I decided not to put t up here in case some boh liau prankster starts calling it and wastes their time (not… that I think any are reading my blog)
Not sure HSBC’s credit card fraud unit would necessarily appreciate my comments tho, like I don’t give them enough work to do with my online shopping, now I’m recommending readers use HSBC credit cards when they worry their credit card information isn’t safe!