Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Charity tags major donors with GPS tracker to monitor behavior

Tagged and bagged

Metro’s largest charity has launched a new study of its major donors using new GPS tracking technology. The new donor behaviour program by the Metro Trust Community Foundation will see biologists tranquilize, tag and then release donors who have given more than $50,000 in the three of the last four years.

“We want to know about our major donors – what they eat, where they sleep, their organizational structure when they travel in groups, and their mating habits,” said Foundation CEO Spooley Snidely. “Up until now, most of the studies in this field have been on major donors in captivity. We’ve never been able to track wild donors in their natural settings.”

A team of specially training biologists and planned giving officers will travel Metro over the next week looking for major donors. Each donor will be followed and observed before being shot with a harmless tranquilizer that will put them to sleep for several hours. Plans call for up to a dozen donors to be tagged.

“The tranquilizer dart won’t hurt them, just put them to sleep – unless they’re driving a car or operating a RV or something,” said Snidely. “They will wake up a little groggy in a nearby park with a metal collar wrapped around their neck and just go about their normal business as if nothing happened.”

The scientists will then track the donors’ behaviour using the GPS tracker on the neck band. They will be able to monitor donors in real-time everywhere they go in a 50 mile radius. Some of the tracking devices will also be able to transmit images and video.

Donors won't notice GPS collar
“For the first time, we’ll be able to see what they see as they live their lives in the wild,” said Snidely. “It’s very exciting. And kind of kinky in a strange, inappropriate way. Heh.”

In a pilot test project last month the Foundation tagged famous local philanthropist Vernon Moneybags while he was sitting in a posh restaurant downtown. Scientists then carried him to their lab where they placed the tag around his neck and then released him at a local fast food restaurant. They spent the next week tracking his every movement, from walking his dog to going to the bathroom.

“The insights we discovered from the pilot were amazing,” said lead scientist Dr. Dibble Brewer. “We found out that major donors don’t in fact spend all their time thinking about making another donation to the Foundation. They actually do other things, like comb their hair and watch The Price is Right.”

The pilot discovered that Moneybags doesn’t like receiving annual direct mail pieces from the Foundation. The grainy video clearly showed him complaining to his wife, his masseuse and his dog Fluffy about how the Foundation was trying to “suck more money out of him”. The pilot was cut short when Mrs. Moneybags called the police in to investigate the band around her husband’s neck which both of them hadn’t noticed for several days. It was later removed by the Metro Police Bomb Squad, taken to a remote location and detonated.

“The pilot program and the tagging operation have already yielded invaluable results,” said Snidely. “We’ve concluded that major donors really want us to send them even more direct mail and to call them more often for donations.”

The Foundation plans to extend the tagging programs to staff who visit the lunch room to see what they actually do. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Street fundraising gets results with leghold traps

Street fundrasiers in Metro are claiming major success with their new leghold traps campaign for the Community Green Trust. The traps have so far raised ten times as much money as expected for the Trust’s new Greenhouse capital fundraising campaign.

“We’re more than pleased with the way our new street fundraising campaign has been going,” says Trust CEO Turner Snidely. “We expected to raise just $10,000 from the street, but with these new ouchy traps we’ve been able to raise nearly $100,000.”

The brainchild of Big Invoice, a national ad agency, the leghold traps were introduced only last week on two busy intersections in downtown Metro. The traps worked better than suspected. Heavy, rusty and difficult to set-up, Snidely says their initial reaction was that the traps would be more trouble than they were worth. That changed when the number of people stopping to give rose dramatically.

“We were unsure how effective the traps would be. We already had a very successful street fundraising program and the idea of using those big, ugly traps seemed like a waste of time,” recalled Snidely. “But our ad agency, Big Invoice, told us that their research showed that traps made people stop. So we thought we’d give it a try. We never knew it would be so successful.”

The usual “stop rate” for the Trust’s street fundraising is about five donors an hour. The average hourly take from a normal five hour shift on a street corner is roughly $150.00. With leghold traps the “stop rate” climbed to 45 people an hour and the average hourly revenue was $250.00.

“It was so successful that we literally couldn’t open the traps fast enough to get people to make a donation,” said Snidely. “They were all so anxious to give. It was amazing.”

Trust street fundraiser Dibble Brewer, 19, says the impact of the new traps on donors was something amazing to watch.

“Most people just pass us by. We try and tell them something about the campaign. Or we do a little dance or something. Some of them stop. Most don’t. But when we started putting out leghold traps it was totally different. People were stopped dead in their tracks. Sometimes literally,” he said.

The site of a potential donor in a leghold trap was so powerful that in some cases crowds gathered to watch a donation being made.

“This one dude was like in the trap and I was filling out his donation form while he was yelling and I looked up and there were a dozen people there,” recalled Sally Toothpick, 23, another Trust street fundraiser. “I told them that they should give, too. And many of them did. They put cash in my hands and ran away before I could even issue them with a tax receipt. It’s like they didn’t care about that stuff, they just wanted to make a difference. That’s what philanthropy is all about.”

Snidely says the technique is surprisingly simple and cost effective. The traps are easy to buy at hunting surplus stores and are very inexpensive. They found the best way to use them was to place them outside banks and the offices of investment firms. Then they leave the rest to the spirit of philanthropy.

“Leave it to the people of Metro to reach down inside and make a difference on the environment. They just give and keep on giving. These leghold traps just bring out the best in people,” he said.

“Last week, one of the street teams left a trap out overnight by mistake and sure enough there was a donor there first thing the next morning when they arrived ready to make a donation,” Snidely said. “It just shows what kind of people live in our community.”

“Most people would think that a person caught like that would bite off their own foot to get out of there, but not that donor. It makes our work kind of special.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Charity regrets hiring political attack ad agency to promote itself

Metro’s largest charity is rethinking its massive tri-state advertising campaign after a public outcry against its latest TV spots.

The Community Foundation of Metro Trust hired the political marketing agency of Dewey, Screwem & Howe to support of their End Homelessness Campaign. Dewey, Screwem & Howe has been involved in more than 100 US political campaigns. The agency convinced the Trust to run constant attack ads on local stations targeting potential donors.

“In hindsight, the ads were a little over the top for a charity like ours,” said Trust CEO Spooley Snidely. “They really pointed a lot of fingers at people who weren’t donating. It kind of offended a lot of people.”

The ads show pictures of typical Metro homeowners and real estate agents with an announcer questioning why they aren’t doing enough to help the End Homelessness Campaign. “What are these people trying to hide?” says one ad. “They know homelessness is a problem and they do nothing. They’d rather have a barbecue than help people on the street. They can’t be trusted. Please give to the End Homelessness Campaign.” Each ad ends with a deep-voiced actor saying
“This message approved by The Community Foundation of Metro Trust” really, really fast.

“I really don’t pay much attention to details, so when the agency told us they wanted to run some hard-hitting TV ads I just nodded,” said Snidely. “It’s somehow the fault of my communications coordinator, I’m sure of it.”

Wendy Dewey, the creative director of Dewey, Screwem & Howe, called the ads “acceptable forms of marketing” and rejected any criticism from local media and community leaders.

“People say they don’t like attack ads, but let me tell you that they watch them. They believe them. And if they don’t like them, that’s okay. They’re either with us or against us. Lines have to be drawn if our candidate…I mean charity…is going to win,” she said.

The campaign also featured an equally hard-hitting website that contained articles on how people who don’t give to the campaign are untrustworthy, connected to Wall Street greed, made questionable tax filings and would rather see convicted killers go free than put one deserving kid through high school. It also featured a “Donor Fact Checker” section designed to counter any opposing attack ads and “set the record straight” about the campaign.

“We got these non-donors dead-to-rights,” said Dewey. “There’s no place where they can hide where we can’t lay bare all of their dirty little secrets. They’re toast.”

The Trust was flooded with calls  the morning after the TV ads began running on Metro stations round the clock last week. Most were very negative. Despite the reaction and the condemnation of the Trust by civic leaders, Snidely says that Dewey, Screwem & Howe says they should stay the course.

“They said all this negative publicity is just what we needed,” said Snidely. “They say their polling numbers show that the Trust’s name is on the lips of nearly everyone in town and that if there were an election held today, we’d be voted the most popular charity.”

Saturday, August 18, 2012

New research points to Gala Fundraising Dinner as cause for Titanic sinking

A new study is suggesting the RMS Titanic sank because of a Gala Fundraising event that took place onboard the night it hit an iceberg.

The Titanic sank the night of  April 15, 1912 after colliding with an iceberg. More than 1,500 people died.

The study was based on new research in the White Star Lines archives in Liverpool. Scientists from the University of Southern Northumbria in the UK discovered that the Titanic was speeding through the North Atlantic that fateful night because of a fundraising gala being held by the Ladies Temperance League of London.

The League, which included the wives of some of London’s most famous financiers and public officials, was one of Britain’s biggest charities at the time. Their largest fundraising event of the year was an annual cruise and gala dinner. In Spring of 1912, the League decided to hold their event on the newly-built “unsinkable” RMS Titanic.

Lady Constance
“The League had held successful gala fundraisers on a number of liners in the previous years,” said leader research Dr. Dibble Brewer. “When the Titanic was launched, they approached White Star Line chairman, J. Bruce Ismay, about holding their event onboard her maiden voyage. He readily agreed.”

Marketing materials the League used to announce the fundraising event and sell tickets was discovered by researchers in the White Star Archives in an old shoe box labeled “Biscuits, as well as important Titanic papers”. Brewer says they were shocked to find out that the gala organizers had plans to hold a 50-50 draw the night of the dinner to see who could guess how quickly the Titanic could reach New York.

“They had a silent auction, a few speeches and a band as their entertainment. But the big star of the show was the draw to see who could predict when the ship would dock in New York City,” said Brewer.

League President, Lady Constance Snidely, asked Captain Edward Smith to help collect tickets. In her speaking notes, an early draft copy of which were found in the archives, Snidely intended to ask Captain Smith to increase speed that very night in order to make the draw “more of a game”. The notes include a telegram from Ismay dated a week before the voyage saying that he had already ordered Smith to disregard the guidelines for steaming at night in the North Atlantic and “pour on the speed” in order to meet the fundraising needs of the League’s 50-50 draw.
“Your fundraising gala is more important than some silly regulations,” wrote Ismay in the telegram.

Lady Constance and most of the League’s board drowned when the Titanic sank. They were in the hold of the ship counting the money from the gala fundraising event when the ship hit the iceberg.

Brewer said their research found that, ironically, the showpiece of the dinner that evening was a high ten foot high ice sculpture depicting the Titanic sailing into New York Harbor. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Charity’s YouTube video just makes them look even more lame

The consensus of the Metro Animal Foundation’s donors is that their new YouTube video makes the animal charity look even more pathetic than they were before.

The 19 minute video, featuring a shaky, mostly out-of-focus pictures and terrible audio, features a guided tour of the Foundation’s shelter and interviews with members of the board and the executive director. Called “Video showing the facilities of the Metro Animal Foundation and why you should give (with lyrics)”, the video has been seen 25,000 times since it was released last month. However, most of the comments and feedback from the video show that it was wildly popular because it was terrible.

 “We were really excited when someone suggested we make a YouTube video, but after we started to get all the negative comments and “dislikes” we realized what a truly wretched organization we really are,” said board chair David Snidely.

Many of the comments dwelled on the total lack of focus of the video and the scene in which someone pretends to be the voice of one of the dogs in the Foundation's shelter. 

“These guys are so very lame. They must really suck at fundraising,” wrote Alien8Fred in his YouTube comments.

“They might actually get donations if they said what they did. I have no idea what they want the money for. Plus, they should hire actors or something because they all look really ugly and stuff. Yech,” wrote LonelyGirl62652542 in her comments.

The video was shot and produced by Kevin, a member of the board of directors, who claimed to know a great deal about videos and social media.

“He said a short video would drive people to our door. We believed him. Plus, he was the only one of us who had a video camera,” said Snidely.

Kevin and his girlfriend, Sonia, shot the video in 45 minutes one Tuesday night. They based it on other videos they saw on YouTube and their own inner muses which most members of the board now agree were sadly lacking.

“Kevin is a nice guy, but interviewing dogs and cats in the shelter and making them lick the camera was a bad idea. It just attracted the wrong crowd,” added Snidely.

The video has garnered one donation so far -- Kevin’s mother, who made a $5.00 gift. At the same time, many long-term donors and funders have started to reconsider their funding because of the video.

“I kind of forgot that we give the Foundation funding. After watching the video I can’t believe we give them any money at all. They are total boneheads,” said Derner Thwaites, the CEO of the Metro United Way.

"Watching this video makes me start to believe in animal euthanasia, and I have 10 cats," said Mrs. Betty Dibble-Brewer, age 95, and the Foundation's most loyal donor. "I really think they need to get a life."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Co-workers in a feeding frenzy for Dan’s office, computer now that he’s been fired

Dan's cool office

Ravenous staff at Metro’s largest charity have been circling the office of one of their former co-workers looking to take it over, steal the furniture or take the computer.

The feeding frenzy at the Metro Environmental Trust began yesterday morning when the office’s former occupant, Communications Manager Dan Wortmeyer, was terminated by Executive Director Spooley Snidely. Snidely, who never liked how Wortmeyer, decided to downgrade the position to that of a communications coordinator, who makes 30 percent less and who does not warrant a nice office, chair or computer.

“I heard about Dan. He was a nice man and he did good work. It was unfair how he was treated. But then I started thinking about his office and especially that nice chair he has. I knew I wanted them,” said co-worker Terry Baileyhead, who works in planned giving.

“I will really miss Dan,” said another co-worker, Turnip Oblivion, a fundraiser. “He was so funny. They were really mean the way they got rid of him just like that. I wonder what they will be doing with his computer? I think he would have wanted it to come to me.”

Snidely called together the staff in the Trust’s lunch room to tell them Wortmeyer had been canned, just as she had done two weeks earlier with fundraiser Cybil Nofairing and two weeks before that with direct mail officer Stanley Carving. As soon as the one minute meeting was over, the feeding frenzy surrounding Dan’s office began.

Finance Manager June Overlander was seen snooping around Dan’s office right after the meeting. She looked at his computer and then sat in his chair and started testing it out. As soon as she left, fundraising manager Lulu Bell was seen in the office looking at the desk and prints on the wall. Several other staff members visited the office. One took Dan’s potted plant. Another helped herself to Dan’s prized stapler, which office lore had always said was totally reliable and never jammed.

Snidely had to step in after lunchtime when she saw four staff members in Dan’s office searching the drawers of the main desk for snazzy pens and other knickknacks. She ordered the door of Dan’s office closed and the contents inventoried.

The staple that won't jam
She later announced by email that she would decide who would get the office and warned people not to take any more things from it. But later, around 3:00PM, she was seen directing Guido the building manager and Chet the summer intern to replace her desk and chair with Dan’s. Later, she was seen walking down the hallway with two of Dan’s floral prints and his stapler. This caused an outcry among office staff.

“This is almost too much to take. She took all the good stuff – even the damn stapler,” said Honey Hollybrook, an office worker. “It’s a crime the way she treated all of us…oh, and what she did to Dan was bad, too. But the stapler thing, that was really evil. My stapler always jams.”

“This was a very sad day. We really lost something this morning. We aren’t what we used to be because of what happened. I’m talking of course about Dan’s office furniture and his cool office supplies,” said Tony Armanhammer, a fundraiser. “Too bad about Dan, too.”

The office will be kept closed until Snidely makes up her mind who to let go next, which should happen after she has stapled together the new budget using Dan’s stapler which never jams.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Union of Stock Photo Doctors threatens charities with strike action

Wants more to teeth

The people who are the face of most of the nation’s health care charities may soon be on strike.

The Union of Stock Photo Doctors, which represents more than 300 photo models who appear as doctors in stock images used by US charities, will be in a legal strike position next Friday. The Union and the League of Big Honking Health Charities have been in contract negotiations for more than six months.

“We’re the happy, smiling doctor with the clipboard in your hospital’s direct mail letter. And we’re the doctor in the scrubs looking very knowledgeable at the health charity’s website. If it wasn’t for us, these charities would never be able to raise a dime,” said Dibble Brewer, President of the Chicago-based Union of Stock Photo Doctors. “We just want to have a better shake for our members.”

Charities switch to cute animals
The two sides are deadlocked over royalties and changes to working conditions. The Charities want the Stock Photo Doctors to only get paid by how much they look like real doctors, as determined by their “doctor quotient”. The Union says it wants extra dental pay for Stock Photo Doctors who need to smile a lot. The Charities also want changes to work rules which have up till now limited the number of times they can use one single image. They want to be able to use any image as many times as it takes to make their donors think that the Stock Photo Doctors are in fact real doctors at their hospitals and charities. The Union has countered with an offer to allow charities to use their images repeatedly until donors forget what real doctors actually look like.

Even with the help of a mediator, both sides appear to be far apart. The Union held a strike vote last Tuesday. More than three-quarters of the membership voted for strike action.

“Real doctors don’t actually look like they were chiselled out of stone with their good looks and have hair that was arranged by archangels and other cherubim and teeth that were carved out of pure ivory... that’s just what the Charities want donors to think,” said Brewer. “If we’re going to be unreasonable facsimiles of the real thing we want to be compensated for it.”

Stock Photo Doctors could be walking the picket line at hospitals and direct mail agencies as early as Friday morning. The Charities have responded by asking other Stock Photo Unions to fill in for the striking doctors, but most have refused.

“Our members won’t be crossing the Doctor’s strike lines. We aren’t scabs,” said Spooley Hairdo, President of the Stock Photo Nurses Union. "Besides, we're only nurses and everyone knows that charities only want stock photo doctors."

Charities spokesperson Melvin Snidely says the various health charities will use “alternatives” in case of a strike, including adorable stock photo images of horses and baby leopards.

“We don’t need the Stock Photo Doctors to raise money,” said Snidely. “Once donors get a look at our new direct mail campaign using chimpanzees who humorously put a stethoscope up their nose no one will even remember those Stock Photo Doctors.”

Saturday, August 4, 2012

A serious message from the editors..

We interrupt our normal flow of comedy to bring you a serious message from the editors...

It has come to our attention that some people who visit this site actually take what we say here seriously.

We know that is extremely hard to believe. How could anyone in their right mind think that trees could threaten terrorist action against a direct mail campaign? Did the first contact with aliens from another world really involve a fundraising pitch from them? Is everyone who works in this sector really have the last name of Snidely? Where is Metro? And how come the biggest charity there seems to change every week?

As unlikely as it seems, we keep finding evidence that some people believe this is all true. Last week, we discovered several people who retweeted some of our stories from someone else and didn't get that this was satire. A few weeks before that someone on Linkedin had a strange reaction because they thought we were telling a story about a real charity. And we keep hearing about how people read our stories and wonder if we're in fact talking about them, their organization or someone they know.

So, let's set things straight.

The content of this site is satire. It is comedy. All characters appearing in this work are fictional. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Same goes for organizations. None of this is real. None of this. It is fiction. We make it all up. And we do it because we want people to laugh and for no other reason.

There may be a few people who have an axe to grind against us or who are just plain weirdos who don't get this.

We have a message for them.

Bug off.

Now that all those idiots have left, let's get back to the comedy.

Thanks for your attention.

The Editors

Send us an email


This was the funniest one yet :D
I really enjoy your newsletter – thanks!
Barb K.

That some people believe that the obvious satire of non-profit humour is real only serves to further demonstrate the need for non-profit humour.
Keenan W.

I told my boss not to call you people.  I told her you all weren’t talking about us, her, our organization, or her dog, Snidely.  But some people just don’t understand humor.  Just like those people who, after seeing an incredible movie, such as the Avengers, says “I didn’t like it. No way any of that could really happen.”  Um…it is a movie.  (That first part, of course, is my attempt at humor.  The part about movies, sadly, is not) Anywho, thanks for making me laugh.  I appreciate the humor.  It makes life behind the desk a little more tolerable.
Rachel D.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gang violence escalates between Major Gifts and Annual Giving for control of the donation trade

Metro Police say the street violence gripping the city is a war between rival fundraising gangs vying for control of the donation trade.

In the latest act of violence, a group of attackers believed to be members of the Major Gifts Crew wrecked a clubhouse belonging to leaders of the Annual Giving Gang last night. Four people were reported injured and several retail shops were damaged in the altercation. Since the street war between the two fundraising gangs began three months ago, more than 70 people have been hospitalized and 2 have made planned gifts in their wills earlier than they anticipated.

“This is a war. There’s lots of money on the street. And both of these gangs want to control the donation trade. It’s hard to say who will come up on top, but I know that there’ll be more blood on the street before this war is done,” said Police Chief Dibble Brewer.

The two gangs used to be part of the same organization. Rivalries between their leaders over who raised the most donations led to a falling out. The Annual Gifts Gang starting asking for donations of more than $10,000. The Major Gifts Crew countered by asking their larger donors to continue to make yearly donations. Violence soon began as fundraisers on both sides started asking the same people for money.

Both groups briefly united a few weeks ago to drive the Gala Events Tribe out of town. The Tribe's plans for a mega-fundraising dinner was thwarted after the Crew and the Gang burned their themed-dinner decorations sets and roughed up their volunteer committee. 

Metro Police have formed a special “Gangs & Donations” squad to combat the violence. They have begun targeting key leaders on both sides and raiding their headquarters. In the last week, more than 15 top fundraisers from both gangs have been arrested and 13 illegal fundraising operations have been closed. But Brewer says he expects the violence to continue.

Community leaders blame the easy money of fundraising and the glamour of the gang life.

"I know some of these boys and girls. They used to be so nice. They'd help you with your groceries and walk your dog for you," said long-time community activist Semple Doggonico. "Then they got hooked on fundraising and overnight they turned into the people that only Satan could love. That's what fundraising does to people."

“These fundraisers have no decency, no morals. They’ll stop at nothing to get more donations than their rivals. Both sides are well armed with brochures and social media. I don’t see the violence subsiding any time soon,” said the Chief.

Police say the Major Gifts Crew appear to have the upper hand in the street war. The Crew has raised the most money. However, the Annual Giving Gang appears to have the bigger donor network.

Mayor Turner Snidely has called for an end to the violence and has introduced a new anti-fundraising-gang project designed for areas of the inner city. City Council has allocated more than $3.5 million for more athletic programs and pottery classes at local community centres.

“We’re hoping that we can keep these gang members off the streets with programs aimed at keeping them in community centres,” said Mayor Snidely. “We know that the street life of a fundraising gang can be very charming, but we hope they choose to do basket weaving instead. No one gets killed when you create a basket and you can put some real cool things in it.”