Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Greenpeace's dubious fundraising

Greenpeace do a lot of good work, but a lot of people (including me) are cynical about their high-pressure fundraising tactics (I find their chuggers, who are a constant presence in central Palmerston North, particularly obnoxious; they're as bad as the Hare Krishnas). That cynicism has just received a boost from a letter a friend received from them:


Thank you so much for your ongoing commitment to Greenpeace ....

From next month we would like you to consider a $3 increase in your monthly gifts to $23 per month. If you are able to increase your support, you do not need to respond to this letter - we will increase your monthly donations beginning on April 7th.

We are extremely grateful for your support and are asking for an increase to your monthly donations in this way to reduce our fundraising costs and maximise the funds we direct to our campaigns.

If you would prefer not to change your monthly support amount or do not wish to receive future letters like this, we will need to hear from you, so please contact our Supporter Relationships team by emailing, OR by phoning 0800 22 33 44, OR by simply returning this letter to us in our reusable envelope.

That's right: if you give money to Greenpeace through a direct debit, they've unilaterally decided that you will be giving them more. It's perfectly legal (Fair Go covered this sort of practice last year), but morally dodgy as hell. "Opt out" isn't acceptable from spammers, and its certainly not acceptable from people who want to take money off you. I'd expect an ethical environmental organisation to behave better than this.

My friend has been left feeling "like someone who narrowly avoided an unwanted goodnight grope after a perfectly pleasant dinner with a friend". Way to go to poison a relationship, guys.