Thursday, August 14, 2008

Well, You Just Lost Out on $50

This year is my 20 year college reunion.

I won't be attending.  I consider myself much more an alum from my Law School than my undergrad college.  But they called me to ask for money (well, they said they were also calling to invite me to homecoming.  Right.) and I thought, hey, it's been 20 years, perhaps I can throw 'em a few bucks.

The caller first asked me for a contribution of $2,500 and I pretty much laughed in her face.  (When she called, she asked me if I was doing anything with my degree in Math, and I told her that I was a lawyer.  She probably thought, "Oh good, a LAWYER -- we can ask her for a ton of money."  I should have said "Government lawyer."  Fact is, the only reason I was considering giving my school money was that they're a State school and the State is pretty hard up for cash right now.  Something I'm keenly aware of as I work for the State.)

So, yeah, no $2,500 for you.  Then she said that, really, while she's asking for larger amounts, any amount will do.  She mentioned that one of the factors that goes into those all important U.S. News and World Report college rankings is the percentage of alumni who contribute, so she'd just like some sort of contribution from me.  She asked if she could put me down for a smaller number on the pledge card.

I don't pledge over the phone.  I never do.  I told her to send me the materials and I'd look them over and then contribute.  In the back of my mind, I'm thinking maybe $25 or $50.  But I'll have to look over the paperwork.  (Specifically, I'll have to look at the bit that tells me what percentage of my contribution will be used to fund people calling me to ask me for money.)

And then she says, "For lots of our alumni, we'll just put $100 on the pledge card, and then you can decide how much to give when you get it."

I tell her no way.  In my head, I'm thinking that I'm not going to promise to give $100, especially when I have no intention of giving it.  She asks if she can call me back in a few weeks and see if I won't pledge then.

I tell her no.  My resolve to not pledge $100 is pretty firm.  I ask if she can just send me the stuff.

She says she can't send me the stuff without a pledge.  I don'ttell her to write $25 or $50 on the card.  I realize that this is because, after she asked for $2,500 and then $100, I would feel a bit guilty for pledging such a small amount.  In hindsight, I realize that this is exactly what her plan was.  I also realize that it backfired on me -- the goal was to guilt me into promising a larger amount; the result was me not even pledging the small amount I was willing to give.

So, guys, I hope you actually get somewhere requesting large amounts from people, because you totally lost out on $50 from me.

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