Slaying the Dragon

by | Aug 5, 2015

Recently we saw Gogen say their final farewells, as the telemarketing agency linked to the Olive Cooke tragedy, is forced to shut up shop, with the loss of nearly 500 jobs.

Now many of you will be cheering, satisfied that the evilness of charity telemarketing has been slayed; but is this really the best outcome?

Let’s look at the facts and the bigger picture.

Gogen was just one of many telemarketing agencies specialising in fundraising. Charities who had a contract with Gogen (and prior to their demise) will have had to pull campaigns in light of the negative press, meaning that they will inevitably have lost money. It’s not possible for the other agencies to absorb all of the work Gogen was meant to carry out. Telemarketing is not confined to fundraising and, whilst we get annoyed at the intrusion of non-fundraising calls, we rarely come together to see the agency delivering non-fundraising calls brought to their knees in such a way.

And (this last point is the most important), charities are having the pick up the slack for delivering front line services that the government no longer provide or pay for.

This is reality.

As a society we are facing some real challenges. These challenges are not confined to “That….” part of society that we turn our backs on, they affect everyone. You, I and the people who are forced to live in the poorer areas of town and those that reside in the well heeled villages. Depression is just as likely to affect an older person who feels lonely and isolated in a village with poor public transport as it is a young mother who is living in poorly maintained private rented accommodation with no access to affordable children’s activities. And a 35 year old man who’s served Queen and Country for 15 years is to be found sleeping under cardboard next to the 15 year old girl who has finally had enough of the drug fuelled beatings of her dependent mother.

Anyone who knows me understands that I was deeply upset by Olive’s story. No one, regardless of the reasons, should feel so alone that they feel they only have one course of action left to them. But the witch hunt that followed isn’t the answer. It snowballed, taking in TM agencies, the purchase of data and the charities themselves – all of which have had to spend their time and money defending their actions; time and money they should have been spending delivering their services to those most at need; us, our families, our friends and our communities.

Let’s learn something from this so that next time we see a “shock” story emblazoned across the front of the tabloids, we think about the knock-on effect of such knee jerk, short term actions.

Food for thought? Contact us to chat it through.

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