Frustrated by Tzedakah Robo-Calls?

I, too, receive these calls, countless times a day, and yes, they can be annoying indeed.

But stop a moment to think: Here is an organization that is inundated by calls from desperate people going through excruciating difficulties, pleading for help; and from Rabbanim asking the askanim to intervene on behalf of those suffering.

How can one refuse? Heart-wrenching situations that can be helped with money! But how can one raise such funds today?

Solicitation by mail? Most people throw tzedakah envelopes in the garbage without even reading them.

Door to door? Have you ever watched weary meshulachim trudging up and down stairs again and again without finding anyone home? If someone does open the door, they are not interested in a sob story. Not being given a chance to describe their situation, all they get is a dollar or two. How can they possibly reach the thousands they need?

Tea parties? Parlor meetings, luncheons? People resent having to go out again and again. They’d rather be spending time with family. (It takes longer to attend a tzedakah event than to pick up a tzedakah call.)

Dinners? They cost tens of thousands of dollars to organize. So do auctions. Only well-oiled organizations can run those. It is a sad indication of our times that so much money needs to be spent to make people open their wallets. What a waste of tzedakah money that could be going directly to the cause.

“Charidy” drives and “matching campaigns” drive people crazy, make them feel cornered and taken advantage of by family and friends.

So how can one raise funds for desperate people going through crises and spiraling tzaros?

Can you think of any solid ideas?

When you think of the anguish and tragedies that some people are enduring, it is, by comparison, so trivial to endure the annoyance of a robo-call to help them — no matter what time of day or year.

The least we can do to be nosai b’ol is to pick up that pesky call and listen to the tzaros that people bear, and make a small donation. Even if it happens every day, and you have already given to this organization.

As for those doing the robo-calls — ashreihem! It’s a nasty job that nobody wants to undertake. In spite of the flak they get and the angry reactions and the “beshis,” they persist, because there is no choice. You can choose to ignore the call, but appreciate the avodas hakodesh these callers are doing. What ahavas Yisrael! And yes, they are helping hundreds of despairing Yidden!

Your point that one ID should be displayed and a choice to opt out (which they often do) should be given is well taken.

But maybe we should just accept these calls as a way of thanking Hashem that we are not in crisis ourselves, and that we can be on the giving end.

Gitty Weiss