Thursday, October 24, 2013

No one notices when charity mistakenly adds same name 6,000 times to donor honour roll

Leaders of Metro’s largest charity discovered last week that their annual publication listing donor names contained a major error. The Metro Hospital Foundation Donor Honour Roll was supposed to list the charity’s top 2,000 donors. But in addition to those names, the magazine-type publication also listed one name, Dibble Brewer, 6,000 times by mistake.

“We found out quite by accident that the name ‘Dibble Brewer’ was mistakenly published 6,000 times, but strangely none of our donors seemed to notice,” said Spooley Snidely, CEO of the Foundation. “Thank goodness no one ever reads those things.”

The honour roll was published two months ago, but it was only last Tuesday when a board member reading the publication for the first time actually noticed the mistake.

“Burt Blurry was having insomnia again and he started reading the honor roll to help him go to sleep. In the past, it’s helped him nod off. But then, he noticed that on page three that every name was Dibble Brewer. And it was the same on page four, five and more,” said Snidely.

Snidely said in hindsight there were a number of clues that should have told them that there was something wrong with the publication, since it was three times as long as it usually is. The publication has always listed every name of every donor alphabetically. During production, the communications coordinator did check every name, but then handed the list over to an outside designer who mistakenly added 6,000 extra insertions of “Dibble Brewer”. When the design came back for approval, it wasn’t checked.

“I don’t blame my staff for not checking the list, I never do. In fact, in the past, we’ve had really trouble when people read every name. Two years ago, one of our people had a nervous breakdown because of it,” said Snidely.

Donors remained oblivious to the error. The only on to notice the problem was Dibble Brewer herself, who sent in a nice letter of thanks to the Foundation.

“I never read the thing, except for looking at my own name,” said Sid Moneybags, a major donor to the Foundation.

“I just thought there were a lot of people named Dibble Brewer who lived in Metro,” said Ethel Cash, another donor.

Snidely said a review of previous honor roll publications turned up similar errors, including several names inserted hundreds of times. In 2010, the honor roll actually contained the designer’s shopping list by mistake. In 1999, the entire manual for the Foundation’s new photocopier was somehow included. And last year, someone actually listed several names in Klingon, the make-believe language developed for the Star Trek TV series.

“If this had been an annual report or a brochure, I would have been really worried. Someone is always reading that shit,” said Snidely.