Angry calls from public push charity fundraiser to quit

Employees in tears over 'abusive' complaints about direct mail campaigns

A fundraiser has decided to leave her job - and the sector - after receiving abusive phone calls from the public about her charity's direct mail.

The worker, who asked not to be named, told Third Sector she was "horrified" by messages and calls that had left some staff in tears.

"Before I started this job I had no idea of the upset that we as a sector caused and now that I have, I am disgusted," she said.

"We can't call ourselves charities when we upset that many people, so I am searching for a job in a different sector.

"Can't we look at alternatives that make the sector look better, reduce waste and emissions and actually do have an impact on people?"

Allan Hulse, manager of international direct response fundraising at animal rights charity Peta, said it had also received angry calls about its direct mail. It was "quite widespread across charities", he said.

When Peta sent out a lot of cold appeals or membership renewal reminders, staff might receive "a few of these calls per day," he said. But he said it usually received about 10 a month.

"People are letting off steam," he said. "Staff don't like having to deal with the more aggressive calls, so I tell them to pass those calls to me."

Leah Harris, direct marketing manager at the Brooke Hospital for Animals, said the charity also received "polarised views" from supporters.

"Some find certain images distressing, but some feel we should be more upfront," she said.

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