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Raise your hand if you enjoy calling strangers and asking for money.
Yeah, me neither. It isn’t always a pleasant task, but someone needs to urge members to continue their support for Voice of San Diego. People are great procrastinators. A personal call works really well to encourage the decision to act.
Here’s a nice surprise: When I talk to members — both current and former – on the phone, they are almost always polite, friendly and enthusiastic about VOSD. I’ve even had some lively discussions about issues in the news. VOSD enthusiasts are a cut above average in civility and interest in what’s going on — “engaged,” as Scott Lewis might say. I actually enjoy the task, but I could use some help.
My wife Peggy and I are both retired from careers in the aerospace industry, and got hooked by Voice of San Diego a few years ago. The stories are often in depth, cover areas ignored by other media and are sometimes “scoops,” particularly involving city and county government.
We’re also enthusiastic about the VOSD policy of not accepting money from government organizations. So, we decided to volunteer our time; it’s fun to rub elbows with young journalists.
Peggy orders the office supplies. We sometimes help out at events. I’ve made a couple of runs to Goodwill to get rid of stuff and lately, I’ve been making phone calls to members who have perhaps forgotten to renew their memberships.
Let’s face it: Nonprofits have a chronic problem maintaining generosity among their supporters, particularly when, as with VOSD, you can get the output for free or pay practically nothing for it.
On the other hand, a U-T subscription runs a little over $300 a year, and the biases are obvious and substantial. Plus, you have all that paper to recycle.
VOSD has a suggested message for these calls that I make, but volunteers modify it somewhat to suit their own style. If you’re interested in helping, I’ll forewarn you that more than half the calls you make will be to an answering machine. You’ll also occasionally get a big shot who doesn’t discuss a contribution on the phone and wants you to send him a written request. (Often, this is a $35 annual contributor.)
I choose to make the calls from home because most are local, with a few out-of-area numbers mixed in. You can make them from the VOSD offices if you prefer.
I intend to continue this work because I enjoy it — in smaller volume. How about some help?
Bill Bradshaw lives in Mission Beach. Bradshaw’s note has been lightly edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here.