Greenpeace is using the contact details from people who sign petitions to cold-call them and ask for donations.
The tactic has been labelled invasive, unethical and a possible breach of privacy by a Victoria University marketing professor.
Their parliamentary wing does much the same thing. The main reason the Greens spent tens of thousands of (taxpayers) dollars paying people to collect petition signatures wasn’t to actually have a referendum, but to harvest e-mail addresses for their database.
However, Greenpeace New Zealand fundraising director Michael Tritt said it would be “wrong” if it did not use the details people provided when they signed petitions.
“People aren’t silly. They know if they put down a phone number or email, there will be some form of communication.”
Not at all. Contact details on petitions were traditionally for verification. At the most they might expect a communication directly related to the petition such as an update on what has happened with it. They don’t expect to be called asking for money!
According to Greenpeace NZ’s 2012 annual report, its expenditure last year was $8.5 million. Of that, $2.7m was spent on fundraising.
Mr Tritt confirmed that was mostly to pay people to solicit money, but said for every dollar spent on fundraising, Greenpeace should get $3-$4 back.
It currently employs the equivalent of 50 fundraisers who get paid $18.40 an hour. They do not get commission but may get taken out for lunch if they had a good month, he said.
Of those, 20 were employed to call people at home, while 30 were “outreach campaigners” – street collectors sometimes uncharitably referred to as “chuggers”, or “charity muggers”.
So almost a third of what you donate to Greenpeace just covers fundraising.