I was recently contacted by an organization calling itself the "Cancer Fund of America". This organization claims to be a cancer charity. I experienced difficulty in dealing with them, and this page is an open letter to them. If you have also had trouble with them and you would like to share your experiences, please contact me.
Dear Cancer Fund of America,
I recently received a phone call from your organization asking for me to make a donation. I want to let you know that I am very disappointed in your donation process, and I feel like I was swindled into donating to your organization.
I will say upfront that I will pay the $20 donation to your organization since I made a verbal agreement on the phone. I understand that I am legally bound to pay this $20 donation, and I will do so. However, the reason I made the agreement was because your staff misled me, not because I had an intention of furthering your cause.
I was called on Friday, August 4th, 2006 around 9:00 A.M. (PDT) by your organization. The woman on the other end of the line asked if Michael was home. I responded by saying that I was Michael. The woman then told me that she was from an "investigative department" and told me that I need to confirm my address and phone number. Believing that the representative from your organization was a police officer, I agreed to confirm my contact information.
After I had confirmed my contact information, the woman then proceeded to tell me that she was calling on behalf of your organization. I was then asked if I would like to make a donation, and that information would be sent in the mail to tell me about your organization. I asked if I would be obligated to make a donation if I were to receive the information in the mail. I was then told that the reason the information was being sent was to let me know more about the organization. Having mistrust for telemarketers, I agreed to have the information sent to me since I figured that it would be sent anyway, even if I declined.
At this point, I was very confused about the whole situation and I inadvertently agreed to make a donation by agreeing to have the information sent. By the time I realized that I was tricked into making a donation, I was transferred to another representative who asked me whether or not I had confirmed my contact information and if I had agreed to make a donation. I answered affirmatively since that was the truth. A few minutes after getting off the phone, I realized that I was swindled into making a donation to your organization.
Since your organization called me, I have researched your organization and I have found that nearly 68.9% of your organization's revenue goes toward paying for fundraising, 27.8% of your organization's revenue goes toward program funds, and 3.3% goes toward administrative expenses. To be honest, I wonder how much of a charity your organization really is. Doesn't it seem odd that a tax exempt charity would donate less than 30% of its revenue to actual charity? Isn't charity the purpose of your organization?
I have heard of many scams on the news about bogus charities. I will not go so far as to call your organization a bogus charity, but donating only 27.8% of your revenue to program expenses makes one wonder. As a result of my findings, I have lost all trust in your organization and I have decided that I will never donate to it again.
I would like to make a request for your organization not to contact me anymore. Please consider this letter a legal warning. If your organization ever calls me or sends me information in the mail again, I will consider it to be harassment. Furthermore, please do not give and/or sell my personal information to affiliates and/or other third-parties. I request that all my contact information remain private, and that I am removed from any calling lists and/or mailing lists. Please also consider this a legal warning. I know my legal rights, and I am asking your organization to respect them.
My final request is for your organization to stop advertising itself as an "investigative department" and to truthfully represent itself when dealing with potential donors in the future. Your organization is not an investigative department and you have no right to claim that. Charity is done best through honesty, generosity, and compassion. In the future, please keep this in mind.
Here are some e-mails I have received from others who have had also had to deal with this scumbag organization (some names have been redacted to protect the innocent):
I too was contacted by this organization. My daughter is a cancer patient, and I believe in helping all I can - they told me this fund was for seeing that the Pts. got the help they needed. I know my daughter did receive help, to watch the kids while she rested, etc. I am contacted now and then by the local group to help out. I didn't realize that this was an out of state group when I agreed to a hefty donation. Am I obligated to send it? I plan to send a note and say what you did, basicly, and say I am donating localy . I became suspicious when they had me wait and switched me over to another person to verify my donation. I'll fight it if I can.
Hi Mike: I read your blog narrating your experiences with Cancer Fund of America and am very grateful to you, since these people have been hounding me incessantly. I too was talked into a $25 donation and was sent the promised mailer. Subsequently I ran into some personal problems, mainly we experienced burst pipes in our apartment and I forgot about sending them the promised check. They called and I explained the delay, telling them I would send it when I could. Ever since then they have been calling daily, sometimes six times in a night (I just stopped answering their calls but they won't give up!) Their persistence is very unprofessional, usually legitimate charities are not so annoyingly persistent and I became suspicious and googled them. That's how I came upon your information. I can tell you that you are under no obligation to send them anything since you purchased nothing from them. The next time they call I will have to be very firm and tell them to stop bothering me and that I have changed my mind about donating due to their harassment. I give what I can to other charities, such as the American Lung Association, who have been around for years and are legit. Anyway - thanks for sharing, it really helped. Sincerely - [name]
I saw your website (http://mazack.org/cancer_fund_of_america.php) and decided to e-mail. I have not donated to these people, but I am being continuously harrased by the telemarketers. I would love to put them behind bars.
If you are involved in any sort of action to put them behind bars (or deport them to some dictatorship where they belong), please let me know. America will be a better place without them.
Thank you for taking up this crusade. I just received a "Second Appeal" from our "friends" at Cancer Funds of America dated August 3, 2009 from Jim Reynolds, President. They claim my Mother, Margaret [last name] spoke with their Tracy Washington on July 17, 2009 (my birthday), and pledged $10.00 to their Elizabethtown Annual Fund Drive.
Problem is, Margaret has been dead since February 1, 2009!
I notified them of their error, by mail, after the initial request dated July 20, 2009. I contacted my Congressman to make him aware of this obvious scam. His response was "Well, if it happes again, call the Attorney General's Office".
Any other recommendations?
I received a phone call today from Cancer Fund of America. The woman began the phone call by telling me that she would not be asking for money and that the speal would take 1 minute, so I let her talk. After telling me they would like to send me a packet in the mail (at least I think that's what they were asking, it truly was a bit muddled), she said, "Will you agree to that?" I responded, "Agree to what?" thinking she would say will you agree to let us send you a packet. Instead, she said, will you agree to support us? To which I replied, "You began the conversation by saying that you were not going to ask for money." At which point she hung up on me!!! Verrrry fishy indeed.
[name] in Arizona
Read your open letter to CFA on internet and agree that this charity, CFA, should NOT BE SUPPORTED. I plan on calling their deverlopment officer, Josh Loveless, to complain. I am a retired fund raiser for a large not-for-profit, a past member of the Assoc. of Fundraising Professinoals (AFP), and former Certified Fundraising Professional (CFRE). I am appalled by a telemarking call I received on behalf of CFA from a company named, Corps for Character. A supervisor was very forthcoming about the fact that CFA received ONLY 17 CENTS FROM EVERY DOLLAR this company raised for them via telephone calls and pledges. This is a disgrace to cancer patients and those who would support them. CFA should have their 501c3 designation removed by the State of Tennesee.
Michael, thanks for creating that website.
I just received a call from someone claiming to be with "Cancer Fund of America" this morning (1/17/2011), and they tried to confuse me into make a pledge. The woman asked if she could send me a thank you note and a receipt for $25 that I donated last year, and I said OK (I assumed I had made that donation sometime back). Then she proceeded to confirm that I was OK if she put $25 "on there". I got confused and told them that I didn't remember donating, but if I did donate $25, put $25 on the receipt (why would you need me to confirm). She kept going around and around as if she didn't understand me, and continued to ask me if I am giving her permission to send me a thank you note and a receipt with a $25 on there. I became suspicious and told her that she can feel free to send me a receipt for whatever I've already donated in the past, but I am not pledging anything new this year. She said OK and transferred me to another person, who confirmed my mailing address and try to confirm that I was pledging $25. I flat out told her no. She got the first person back on the phone, I reiterate that I wasn't pledging anything, and they hung up.
These people were very sketchy on the phone. They can not be a legitimate charity. If they are a real charity, then they are committing fraud by straight out scamming people into pledging.
I'd like to share my somewhat amusing experience with a call I received from them.
They called about a week ago in the evening and a very nice sounding lady went into the spiel about how they raise funds, not for research, but for people who already have cancer and they help cancer patients directly and could I pledge at least $5 to the fund?
I chose to be pleasant and started by responding that "I work at the University of Michigan and am directly involved in cancer research", I would have said more like "so I contribute to cancer patients at the local level" , but at that point the caller said "thankyouforyourtime" and hung up abruptly. Nuff' said! Scam written all over it. I knew that in 20 years of administering grant funds, projects, etc. at U of M Cancer Center I'd never heard of them so I googled them and found much to be shocked over. I will make sure the Cancer Center here is aware of them. Thanks and good luck.
sign me anonymous
My husband found your letter about the problem you have with them and I had almost the same thing happened to me. A lady called me and asked if I wanted to donate I told her no. She said that my husband sent $25 last year. I asked him and he said he did not. She then asked if she can send me some information in the mail. I said okay to that.
When the letter came, it said I donated $25. I sent it back with a note saying that I did not donate it and if they want the money they would need to get it off the lady who called me I wrote her name. Another letter came today with the same thing.
I just wanted to thank you for your work on Cancer Fund of America donations. I had a similar incident with them but, it was more in the area of not taking no for an answer. I have donated to them before in the amount of $150.00, but no longer. I found their web site with their e-mail contact and sent them a letter asking for information as to how the money donated is spent.
UNICEF: 0.14 per dollar of income goes to the cause.
American Red Cross: 0.39 per dollar goes to related charity causes.
United Way: 0.51 per dollar goes charity causes.
World Vision Charity: 0.52 per dollar goes to charity causes.
I’ll see what they come back with.
Anyway I just wanted to thank you for your work and sincerely hope that all people that donated to any organization will take the time to find out if that organization is a scheme, and that their dollars are being spent wisely.
I donated to them twice and each time they said they would not ask again, however, now they keep calling and asking for me. Their letter even seem legit.
I got a call from this organization this afternoon.
They asked for my sister - whose phone I use.
I told them she wasn't home but I was WUFC administrator
and perhaps we had something in common we could talk about.
The caller (Amanda) laughed at me and said it was okay if I
didn't want to donate and hung up.
Not at all what I had in mind.
Then I found your page.
Cancer Fund of America execs: $537,981 for father, 3 sons
I found your open letter to the Cancer Fund of America, and I wanted to throw in my two cents as well. My mother just received a call from them earlier this evening, so I did some quick Googling. They sounded too much like a scam to me, and I figured no real charity could be as callous as they were. My mother explained to them when they called asking for a $40 or $50 donation that she was still recovering from a mastectomy on Monday. (It's Thursday evening as I write this.) "I'm still wondering how I'll be able to afford all my medical bills right now," my mother responded, "and you're asking me to give you $40?" The woman on the phone responded "Yes, that is what I'm asking." My mom hung up the phone at that point.
I'm left wondering, though, what kind of "charitable organization" asks for money from someone who is currently recovering from cancer-related surgery, and with the knowledge that the surgery had actually just happened, continues to ask for money. The American Cancer Society is, instead of asking for money, sending things to help out. The contrast is stark, and I am still left in disbelief at the timing and callousness of their call.
(I would prefer to remain anonymous.)
I have also received phone calls from the Cancer Fund. This last time, I answered the phone. It was an old phone without caller id. The woman asked for my husband, by name, first and last. I said, "I'll check to see if he is here. Can I tell him who is calling?" Silence. I responded, "Oh, so you're nobody?" and hung up.
I have no doubt that if I did not respond that way and did not hang up right afterwards, she would have hung up on me.
I then went over to my other phone that has caller id, and saw "Cancer Fund" in the id.
Thank you for creating your webpage, so others can report their experiences.
Just wanted to send you a note about my experience with the Cancer Fund. I received a call this evening from a local number with no name reflected on my caller ID. Since I was expecting a work-related call, I answered the phone. I certainly didn't expect a plea from a national charitable organization - the number on the caller ID was local. I allowed the woman to tell me the story about Cancer Fund. I then politely declined her request to send me a packet with information and a pledge card. I explained that we have a special-needs child and all of our charitable giving really revolves around the organizations from which we receive support. This did not deter the caller one bit. She then told me that she "understood that the economical times are tough right now" and could she please count on me for a $15 donation. I again declined and ended the call. Honestly, I doubt I would ever give to any organization that utilizes such telemarketing tactics.
I work on both sides of charitable organizations - I head a group that collects money and other donations for certain groups, and my special needs son has been the recipient of the services/benefits provided by some charitable organizations. I have never encountered (or used) such boiler-room tactics to elicit money from donors. Furthermore, I did a little online research about Cancer Fund of America. It seems this group has elected NOT to provide information to the BBB AND, there are reports that less than 1 cent of every dollar raised goes to support cancer patients. I'd like to say I was shocked, but I was not. Any business or charity that calls me but fails to disclose a name on caller ID is being deceitful from the very start. That alone tells me all I need to know.
I do have a question. I know charities do not have to follow the rules of the Do Not Call registry. However, can individuals request to have their names removed from calling lists of these groups? And if so, do you know if the group is required to honor the request? I read your original letter to the Cancer Fund - I'm just curious if you were able to stop the calls. I ask because I also get calls from the Breast Cancer Fund, which I have read is another group associated with the Cancer Fund.
Thank you for any information you may be able to provide. In times like these, I think it's so very important to give - but only to organizations truly dedicated to helping others.
I have visited four web site. I have received many phone calls fro "Cancer Fund of America". Twenty four since 6 Feb 2012. My husband got the first phone, and said he would look over their information, they took that as a pledge. I have looked up the reputation of this so called charity. I told my husband that they are a scam of a charity. He threw their information in the trash. Since then we have received more information, and that was thrown in the trash. I have reminded that that my telephone number is on the govt do not call list, and asked to be taken off their call list. I have even filed a complaint with the FTC, and still they call.
I recently received a phone from a woman who claimed to be associated with the named organization. And yes, she kept using the words "do I have your permission" support their cause via a pledge. She wanted to hear "yes" spoken from me and if he had something else, she would repeat the question again. She came up with $20 to pledge. I at the time felt I was on the spot to make a decision and $20 was not a big amount to worry about. But after reading your ordeal, I am do worried about my personal information being shared to others. Do you think I am legally bound to pay the $20 knowing that it only ends up being few pennies to every dollar?
Please advise of any new findings.
If you had have trouble with this organization or complaints and would like to tell me and the world wide web about it, please don't hesitate to send me an e-mail. My e-mail address is located at the bottom of the page. Please remove the spaces between the '@' and the '.'; the reason the spaces are there is so that people, like this organization, have a more difficult time using spiders and robots pick out e-mail addresses from web pages so that they can put them on spam lists. Again, please don't hesitate to contact me with your experiences. If you have something to add here, I will consider posting it. Thanks.