Saturday, March 24, 2012

Deceptive Practices vs Lame Gimmicks: The Democratic National Committee

I have very little tolerance for deceptive practices in solicitation for donations, whether from political or charitable sources.

These are separate, of course, from things that are simply infuriating gimmicks, such as sending a nickel taped to the solicitation letter so you feel guilted into sending something in (I wish I could remember which org did this to me, but I mailed their nickel back with an angry letter and never heard from them again).

And actually, there are times when I've mis-judged a gimmick... I used to fault any organization that sent me those stupid address labels as a freebie to encourage me to donate. But then I noticed that the majority of donations that come into the organization I work for have address labels in the corner. So, donors really do use these... I was flabbergasted. I had assumed that because I didn't use them, nobody did, and I was definitely, 100% wrong.

But a recent communication I got from the Democratic National Committee is straight up deceptive, and I'm not even sure to what end.

In addition to their regular solicitation stuff they send, the letter and all that, they sent a piece of paper meant to look like a notecard... you know, the lined ones you might use for notes at a speech or presentation.

It's supposedly the original copy of the card the DNC keeps in its files with my contact information.

Let me make this clear: the DNC wants me to believe that they keep their donor information in some kind of giant notecard file, and that I have to return this card, with any updates on information, because it is presumably the only one they have. Like, it says "Original Copy, Please Verify and Return" and it has a "stamp" on it (clearly printed) that shows the date it was "Removed From File" (with the date in a font that is supposed to resemble handwriting, but doesn't, because its just a standard handwriting font), space for me to put a date for "Member Verified", and a third date area for "Returned to File." You know, so that someone can hand-write the date it was returned to the member notecard master files.

Now, I feel like they can't actually believe that they are convincing people that these are really the originals, and that the DNC will no longer have this information anywhere if I refuse to return this card. That would be over the top insulting to its membership, who I like to believe is generally an intelligent bunch.

But what else can it mean? There is no other explanation. They want people to feel compelled to verify their information and return the card, which is totally reasonable. But they seem to really believe that they are going to trick people who otherwise wouldn't return this information into doing it anyway. Why else would they do it? Why not just ask me to verify the information and return the card? Why the ruse that this is somehow the "original copy" of something?

I know to many, this doesn't seem like a big deal. But I don't put up with this shit from charities, and I damn well won't when we're talking about the elected officials leading the free effing world. So the DNC will never get another penny from me again. I hope others join me. Maybe they'll stop appealing to the lowest common denominator and insulting the intelligence of their membership with their deceptive gimmicks.


  1. Ha! I'm pretty sure that this is because a lot of the fundraising research out there is really old-school and often actually intended to target old people, who often donate the most frequently and tend to respond to tricks like this because they are old and really do think people do their membership filing on notecards. This is also why so many fundraising letters are written in that old-school font that's supposed to make you think it was typed on a typewriter. It's all for old people!

    1. Oh, I didn't even realize about the font! This is so interesting. I do still disapprove, because its still fooling old people... it does make sense, though, that they probably don't think they're actually fooling me. :)