It started last October when I grew tired of the unwanted solicitation calls from Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation. I wrote about them on this blog and submitted a FOIA request to the State of New Jersey and did some research.
My research quickly led to this becoming one of the most popular posts on this breast cancer blog. I received comments from all over the country.
Then one day, I received a contact and comment request from a man named Glen Weisman. He had been contacted by this group as well, and the charity had raised his suspicions, so he had sent in a request for an investigative reporter named Walt Kane from News12 New Jersey to check this charity out. He asked if I minded if he passed my information along to Walt and his Kane in Your Korner team. I said sure, and a month ago Walt Kane interviewed me.
One of my favorite parts was Walt Kane calling Dee Dee Lowland, the “program director” at Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation. Now this is the woman who also left a comment on my blog in the “about” section that said:
Hi, I am program director for Breast Cancer Survivors Foundation and I wanted to tell you alittle bit about who we are. BCSF is a new organization focused on helping uninsured and underinsured women obtain mammograms and other breast diagnostic services. We do this by providing grants to clinics and agencies. So far we have provided over 400 mammograms through 14 free clinics and agencies. While it is easy to judge an organization based upon its financial efficiency, the real test is what the organization does with it’s resources. The organization was founded by a doctor who receives no compensation. The founder considered alternate ways to seek public support. Not having corporate or government funding a decision was made to do grassroots fundraising by telefunding. The advantage of telefunding contracts are numerous. First, no capital investment is required. Second, there is no risk loss. Third, the organization gets a guaranteed return regardless of the telefunding agency’s expenses. Our goal for BCSF is develop name recognition over a period of years that allow the organization to diversify its funding appeals. I ask that you not judge us on where we are,but rather on the good work we have done to date, and on the basis of where we are going. A woman whose life has been saved through an early detection program funded by BCSF is not likely concerned with the efficiency of the organizations fundraising. Finally, if you know of a clinic in your area that provides mammograms or breast diagnostic services to uninsured or under insured women please encourage them to email me for a grant application.
In her little chitty chatty with investigative journalist Walt Kane she was nervous and defended the charity’s telemarketing tactics by saying “We have no corporate sponsors, but that is how we have to get money…” – which as we all know is not the case. I have worked with several small non-profits over the course of my life as a volunteer and otherwise, and not one, NOT ONE used telemarketers or would have. When Walt asked Dee Dee if the people being called knew that 91 cents out of every dollar raised went to overhead like telemarketers, she verbally stumbled and said yes, that was part of what the telemarketers tell you about.
WRONG. That is an outright fib. I received more than one call from this purported charity and the telemarketers could never tell me ANYTHING about the charity or what percentage of monies raised went where. What they said was I could call a number to find out (that number led to an answering service in the midwest which could also tell me nothing) , or if I made a pledge I would get information. So NO, there was not any full disclosure going on, just an obnoxious push to close a sale.
I also will note (again) that I never got a call from this outfit until I had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They asked for me by name as a survivor so I was not part of any random computer generated numbers dialer. I still do not know who sold them my information. Whoever did sell it should also be outed as far as I am concerned.
I feel like a little bit of justice has been done. I hate phone solicitations as a general rule of thumb, but this particular solicitation hit a little too close to the breast, pardon the pun.
Walt Kane, thanks for raising awareness on this issue.