Let’s start with the disclaimer. I like the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. I do. I wish them the best, and I hope they continue to be a strong presence in the Dallas arts and music scene.
But stop calling me.
About two years ago, I took April to the symphony for Valentine’s Day. We purchased nice seats and had a good time. To buy the tickets online, I gave them my contact information. Later, I received a call from one of their volunteers. Donate $50? Sure why not. I like the Dallas Symphony (see first paragraph). They wanted more money, but that’s all I could part with at the time. And then the phone calls began.
I was getting calls throughout the year. I had to save their number, so I knew not to answer it. Then they started calling from different numbers. Tricky. After my intial donation, I turned them down numerous times. “Sorry, dude. I don’t have any money to give.” That rarely worked though, because they’d keep at it during the call. The callers were far too insistent. Clearly, I have SOME money I can give. My regular donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the American Heart Association do not incur the same sort of obsessive hounding that $50 to the DSO invited.
After a particularly annoying phone call: “No, I don’t have any money.” “No, thank you.” “No, really.” “Please, I’m hanging up now.” “Okay, seriously, bye.” I decided life was too short to live in fear of phone calls. On July 19th, I wrote an email to the Dallas Symphany Orhcestra’s customer serivce: Stop calling me. I gave them my phone number, and they assured me “we have removed your phone number from our list.” Less than a month later, I received two more phone calls. Today, I emailed again to remind them that I’m off their list.
If I knew this was going to happen, I never would have donated money to DSO in the first place. Now I’m afraid to buy tickets to another DSO event, because I worry it will start the cycle all over again.
Dallas Symphony needs to raise money to do awesome stuff. I understand how it all works. And if I remember Non-Profit Fundraising 101, phone calls are fairly effective. It worked on me… once. But you don’t want to gain a buck and lose a supporter.
My advice to Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Be cool. Slow your roll.
I realize the rejection hurts, but we can still be friends. And maybe if you respect my boundaries, and take “no” for an answer, maybe someday, I’ll donate again. However, at this moment, I feel like we have some trust issues to work through. There will be other donors, other people in your life who will give you what you need, and make you happy. But right now, I’m just not in a place to be that person for you. I’m sorry.