Strategic Fundraising Inc. (a/k/a SFI)

My home phone has been blowing up with phone calls lately.  The caller ID information says “SFI” with a phone number of 763-392-5981.  They call multiple times per day, they never leave a message, and they hangup if you answer.  And all of this when my phone number is listed on the national do not call list.

So who is behind SFI?  It is a company called Strategic Fundraising Inc out of St. Paul, MN.  The owner is Dan Rice, and his wife Christine Rice.  Their home address is 11152 14th St. N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042-9707.  Their home phone number is 651-337-0300.  I emailed Dan and Christine today (with copies to their various corporate VP’s).  I essentially told them that until they stopped calling my home, I would email them every time I got a phone call from their company.

It didn’t take long before I got a response from their VP of Information Technology, Mr. Dan Latvala.  I thought you might like to see his response to my inquiry.  He offered to help remove my number (which I do appreciate), but I’m not sure I like the fact that they consider themselves exempt from obeying the national do not call list because of who their clients are.  Here is his full response …

“Sorry for the disruption.  The majority of our clients are political or non-profit entities, so they are not required to purge numbers from their lists that also exist on the National DNC list.  We do honor all consumer requests to stop receiving phone calls from us, however, by keeping an internal DNC list.  If you would give me your number or number(s), I would be glad to add them to our internal DNC list and personally make sure that you don’t receive additional calls.”

So I replied and thanked him for the offer of help.  But there still was the issue of why they don’t leave messages and why they hangup if I answer.  So here is his full response on that topic …

“There are two situations when our predictive dialers will “hang up” on a person.  The first is if it detects (or thinks it detects) an answering machine.  The second is what is known as an abandoned call.  Our predictive dialer attempts to keep the number of seconds between calls low for the fundraisers, so it dials based on the recent answer rate in the campaign.  This means that once in a while when someone answers the phone we don’t have a fundraiser to connect so the system just hangs up.  I know this is irritating; I find it that way as well.  It helps that I understand what happened, though.  Abandoned calls happen fairly infrequently, though.  Usually when a hang-up occurs it is because the system thought it detected an answering machine.  Since it is a computer, it isn’t always correct.”

So let me see if I understand this.  Your computer dials out.  I answer the phone.  If there aren’t any “fundraisers” available to take that call, then your computer hangs up?  Somewhat irresponsible to inconvenience the American public just because you can’t staff your call centers with enough warm bodies to keep up with the number of calls your computer system makes.  If it irritates you too, then why don’t you fix it?  You are the VP of Information Technology after all.  Is this the best your company can do?

Once you solve this problem, I urge you to utilize the National DNC list on behalf of your customers.  Even if they aren’t obligated to use the DNC – you should do so on their behalf.  Keeping up your own list can’t be any easier than utilizing the national DNC.  I don’t mean to pick on Dan Latvala.  He did, after all, respond quickly and agree to help me get my phone number off the list.  For that I am very thankful.  But Dan Rice, the owner of SFI, needs to read this.  Stand up and take action – don’t ignore the spirit and purpose of the National DNC.

10 Comments »

  1. Celery said,

    June 30, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

    Thanks for your attention to this matter. My 84 year-old father has been experiencing the same headaches with this company. To my mind, the frequency of the calls (which have been between 2 and 5 per day) is unconscionable. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for this practice, and it borders on harassment! What is Dan Rice’s email? I, too, would like to correspond with him.

  2. Celery said,

    June 30, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

    I just found his email on your blog from clicking on the names. I encourage others to do the same. I hope I get a reply. However, instead of putting out fires, they should just change their practices!

  3. jdbarney said,

    July 1, 2008 @ 6:36 am

    In fairness – I must tell you that the calls from SFI have stopped. I even got an email from Dan Rice. I may not agree with their business practices – but I certainly give them excellent marks for being responsive to complaints. If you want to stop getting calls from this company – please try adding your number to their do not call list (you can do this at their website).

  4. undees said,

    July 9, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

    Must… resist… urge… to… point… out… which… political… party… is… spamming you.

  5. Karl said,

    July 24, 2008 @ 2:53 pm

    we simply need to outlaw the use of autodialers that have not had the National do not call list installed.

  6. Lin said,

    March 17, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

    I dont understand why political and non profit organizations dont use the DNC list. I added my name to that list twice now and i still get calls from SFI and other organizations as well. What upsets me is that i get calls from people saying i am a devoted donator when i dont remember EVER donating to them or maybe once in my life. I even tell them while on the phone…. take me from your list… i do not want to receive your calls… I am assured my name has been removed and a few days later get a call from another person from the same company who ALSO assures me my name has been removed. Then there are the ever-loving operators that get rude and say they dont have to pay attention to the DNC list and get this… one operator from some company actually told me that the DNC list does not exist and is a government lie. Yeah. So i think the Do Not Call list should be available to all organizations,including political and nonprofit, and make it a law that they respect those listed.

  7. Yolanda Bailey said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 10:42 am

    l have been receiving over 10 calls a day from these guys. No one is there when I answer, no message is left, it’s as if some kind of scam is going on here. I have asked to be “removed” from their list numerous times. Yesterday I received 14 calls, every five minutes between 4:00 and 5:00. I wrote to the FTC, the FCC, and the Nebraska Attorney General and I am demanding $50 per call from these guys for violating my privacy and my peace at home. So far they owe me $2500. I will not give up until these autodialers are outlawed and someone finally starts to do something about all these scams taking place on our phone lines. This is totally outrageous. And people wonder why everyone is disconnecting their land-lines and going to cell phone use – it’s the only way to get some peace.

  8. Bill said,

    November 14, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

    After receiving numerous calls/day from SFI and occasionally answering to no avail, I went to: http://www.strategicfundraising.com
    and added my # to their DNC list. 48 hr. window…..we’ll see!

  9. Former said,

    August 18, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    I can certainly understand how you all feel. I used to be an employee for sfi, so I’ve heard these sorts of things before. Its not the fundraisers fault, not even the site managers fault. The system is completly automated and they have extremly strict guidlines they have to follow otherwise they lose their job in a heartbeat. It is absolutly ludacris that people keep getting calls like that and I apologize on their behaf. They are simply just trying to do their job and earn a living for themselves. the ones who are at fault, are the ceos of this orginization. I understand your outrage at something like this, but it is not a scam at all. Just people trying to live.

  10. SgoggleBen said,

    August 24, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    Former, I might feel a bit sympathetic if I didn’t already know that those “people trying to live” are being paid by the NRA.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a Comment

Creative Commons License Creative Commons License