Sunday, December 27, 2009

Teaching Torah Not

I got a phone call before 9:00 today from someone calling to raise funds for a yeshiva. It was a frustrating call, to say the least.

The yeshiva is not physically located in my neighborhood, nor even in my city. It is not a yeshiva I have donated to before. I politely explained to the person on the phone that our yeshiva tzedaka money was staying local for now. That should have ended the call, but it didn't. The person on the other end made a point of emphasizing that our local yeshivas are yeshiva ketanas (factual point: they aren't all) and that it is higher up on the tzedaka ladder to donate to a yeshiva gedolah, that that is what is required of us. "Why?" I asked. He told me that it is because the yeshiva gedolah teaches Torah. So I asked "And a yeshiva ketana doesn't teach Torah?" He backtracked only a half a millimeter and said that they don't teach Torah on the same madrega as a yeshiva ketana; the learning is of a much higher value, so the money donated there is of a higher value. At this point I was not happy and asked him: "If you didn't have a yeshiva ketana teaching ahavas Torah first just who would be coming to your yeshiva gedolah?"

He decided to end the conversation and said: "So, I can put you down for $54?" I answered "no" and disconnected the call. No, fundraising today is not easy, not with the financial situation many people are in. But if yeshivas and other organizations are going to be doing telephone soliciting, someone needs to get those solicitors together and train them better. First, they need to be able to recognize when "no" means "no." They also need to learn that insulting those they phone by denigrating the choices of where those people are giving money to is not the way to go. And could someone please tell them that calling before 9:00 on a Sunday morning might get them some grumpy responses?


Anonymous said...

I give you credit for your patience - I would never get into a conversation if I knew I wasn't going to participate. I just say in a friendly but firm tone, "I'm not going to participate, but thank you so much for calling!" and then hang up.

Lion of Zion said...

you think the guy at the other end of the line is the rosh yeshiva or director of fundraising? its just some "chaim" making minimum wage (plus perhaps a commission). seriously, why do you even waste your time? sure you got a post out of it, but had you hung up right away you would have had time to give us 2 posts today!
shavuah tov

ProfK said...

I normally don't engage these telemarketers in drawn out conversation but this one caught me early in the morning on only a few hours of sleep.

Ahh LOZ, and here I have a post just for you coming up tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

You sound like you had your mind made up. If so, how would different training help? Is there something different he could have said that would have led you to give a donation?

ProfK said...

No anonymous, he could not have changed my mind because it was made up. Better training might have led him to give up after the first "no, thank you." What has remained with me from the conversation is the name of that yeshiva tied together with incompetent telemarketers. If ever I might have considered the yeshiva for a donation I sure would not do so now.

qsman said...

I have a voice changer on my phone. So when they start getting pushy, I change it to "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and sing "Happy Birthday". That usually does the trick.