How the Big Boys Blow It

Newsflash – fundraising is hard.

So hard that even a corporate behemoth like the New York Times can’t get it right.

Here’s how they bungled a recent attempted gift:

I have for years, read the Times’ “neediest cases” stories, which apparently have been going on for more than 100 years. Today, as I was looking for something other than election news to read, I saw this incredibly inspiring story about a young homeless asthma patient who through it all is almost done with community college.

I have asthma, and I happen to be suffering a nasty bout of it this week, so the story really got me. And that made me want to support this guy, or at least to support the people who support him.

Good luck with that.

Challenge #1: Find a donate link. That took a couple of minutes. It’s a small text link buried in a call-out over on the left, below the scroll line. OK found it. Now…

Challenge #2: Make the gift. Whoa! The donate page sucks! Really sucks. Let’s just hit the main points:

  • No mention of the story that motivated my desire to give.
  • You have to create an account to give. That’s a killer.
  • BUT, you don’t have to create an account to give if you are a Wall Street fatcat because there is an “Express Donation” option limited to firms like Citi and Goldman Sachs

I admit it, I found the VIP area on the form for the one percent  sufficiently odious that I bailed on the gift. On top of making it incredibly hard to give, the Times managed to telegraph that I don’t really belong there to begin with.

This leaves me however with an unfulfilled desire to help kids with asthma. If anyone can suggest a good cause that will go through the motions of appreciating my support, please pass the names along!

Update: the shelter that’s helping this kid is called CREATE, in Harlem. They got my money.