“ Amnesty International is a worldwide campaigning movement that works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards. „
Before I begin, I would just like to make it clear that I respect and hold in high regard all of the work that the various charities and in particular Amnesty International do. However, there appears to be a familiar trait occurring on every high street in Britain, something I like to call the "Clipboard Sharks".
My most recent run in with the clipboard sharks came this weekend and whilst usually the Red Cross bare the brunt of my mutterings, this time it was Amnesty International........A charity I have supported many times in the past.
Just as a quick synopsis, Amnesty International are a charity based around the protection of peoples humans rights. To quote their website,
"We stand up for humans wherever justice, freedom and truth are denied."
As a charity they're work is exceptional, dealing with human rights issues all over the globe from issues such as violence to women, through to the abolishment of the death penalty. They deal with real issues that can otherwise remain hidden by the cloak of corrupt governments the world over.
This is a fantastic charity to support as is the red cross and the many other admirable charities out there. However I find myself writing a negative review regarding the above mentioned charity why?
I'm sure some of you out there will be familiar with the story I'm about to tell you. It's Thursday Afternoon and I've nipped into town to pick up a few bits and meet my girlfriend. Problem is I've only got about 15 minutes so I've got to be quick.
So I'm walking down the high street, when I notice the "clipboard sharks" in front of me. Now at this point I don't even know who this person is representing but what I do know is I haven't got time to engage in a long winded conversation, no matter how good the cause. I just don't have the time.
So operation "Don't make eye contact" begins. The problem is, this never seems to work. Infact it seems to have the opposite effect and draws the clipboard shark towards me like a moth to a flame. Only one thing for it, operation "deviate away". I find myself joining the school of other nervous individuals who are cutting a path either side of the clipboard Nazi's in a huddled avoidance technique. It reminds me of watching planet earth and seeing the tuna fish swimming closely together to avoid being eaten by its larger more deadly predator. The clipboard shark has successfully cut a swathe through the high street, however nature has taught them a few tricks......
Namely, they can move! Infact once locked onto they're prey, they adopt some extremely arrogant manoeuvres. Now having been in sales for a good few years, I will break down they're cunning for you. Here's how it works..........
1) They stand right in front of you blocking your path. incredibly rude in my opinion but I guess it has the desired effect of slowing you down.
2) They will say Hi, introduce themselves and hold out they're hand to shake yours. Now this is clever, I natural human response when seeing an extended hand is to shake it back....if you don't your deemed as being rude. It forces you to stop and engage conversation.
3) They will start with a couple of closed questions to get you engaged e.g "have you heard of Amnesty International". This is designed to give a yes or no answer. The reason for this is it engages you into the conversation, but also ensures that the person asking the question (The charity) stay's in control of the conversation. That way they can move the conversation forward in the direction they wish, giving you no "get out"
4) They will then begin to ask leading questions, I.e "its terrible that this issue isn't being dealt with isn't it". You obviously will say "Yes" and that's the plan. Keep you saying yes so when at the end you are asked to make a contribution, you will also say "Yes". They will even mirror the way that you stand and nod for you in all the right places to give you subconscious ques to agree with what they are saying.
Now some of you may say well if it makes them more money for they're charity then fair enough, and I would totally agree. But my worry is this.........
This method is based on a "sales model" for creating leads. This is not an awareness campaign, its lead generation. Now where ever you have lead generation, you have targets to hit and wherever you have targets to hit, you create a culture of doing "what ever it takes" to get the leads". Now in this case, this is beautifully reconstructed by the "clipboard sharks". The charities have created sales people, not philanthropic individuals who speak with real passion and emotion regarding they're cause. They have all quite clearly been taught off of que cards ands scripts and apply a little bit of crude salesmanship into the deal.
Now this may well mean that in the short term, they will gain more leads and therefore more contributions. However what is the long term damage to their charities reputation? For me this could do greater harm to them than good. I watch in amusement as people literally turn 90 degree's to avoid the on rushing clipboards and as I mentioned before this is even before you know what charity it is. This is not good. Already you have a negative impression of the person approaching you and I guarantee most people will barely wait long enough to even hear what they are going to say.........................people hate being "sold too" and despite the fact a charity is taking contributions, they are using the same sales model, hence the reaction by the public!!!!!
If they do manage to catch you, then you can never seem to get away from them which actually starts to annoy me more than anything else. I've even been told I'm being rude because I wouldn't stop to talk to them. I think you'll find its my prerogative to make a responsible choice when giving to charity, NOT to be bullied into it. Infact in this first 10 seconds, the damage is already done and the charities reputation has been put into jeopardy. How very sad.
Now I really don't know why charities persist on employing this crude technique, they should leave this to the countless gym and window companies that have actually probably created this adverse public affection to clipboards in the first place. There are many more positive solutions to creating awareness and increasing contributions. Baring in mind charities get free access to nearly everywhere on the high street as well as having huge scope when running a campaign (e.g playing music, handing out leaflets etc etc) they're opportunities are only as limited as the person coming up with the ideas!
I continue to give to charities and always will. I will, even on the rare occasions I meet a nice one of the clipboard sharks, also give to them. However I would implore that charities try a different method of gaining contributions as I fear this technique could tarnish the amazing work that they do on a daily basis.
I would be interested to hear other peoples thoughts on this.
i disagree with amnesty international .
they say sudam had an unfair trial.
he Killed hundreds and tortured them too.
you sa the death penalty is inhumane to me the death penalty is humane its a quick death.
Even if it was inhumane sudam was inhumane to all his victims how can amnesty international defend a man who killed many they say they defen human rights by letting this man live they are putting human's in danger.
while he lives there will be disturbance in arak.
I don't agree with the death penalty 100% but sadam deserves to die or rot in alkatraz.
he dosen't deserve the rights of other humans his soul is destroyed .
It is said the death penalty was abolished because it was to save human lifes.where was amnesty international when sudam was killing the innocent or went all these riots in arak are taking place.
how can you say u defend humans when you let this man live he could be set free and then what gather more supporters and begin again.
not allowing the death penalty on a murder i understand but on a masacre i don't understand.
If u were looking out for humans give all those killed justice.
Amnesty International was set up by a man called Peter
Benenson in the early 1960s. In order to protest against the
treatment of certain prisoners in Portugal. Since then the
organisation has expanded worldwide, and now has sections in
the United States, Australia, Mexico and other countries of
the world. Campaigns the organisation are dealing with at the
moment include Stop Violence Against Women, Control Arms and
the Death Penalty as well as campaigning for individuals at
risk and opposing house demolition in Israel.
The Stop Violence Against Women campaign aims to put an end
to gender based violence around the world. For example, rape,
honour crimes or genital mutilation. One recent action.
Concerned a woman living in the Democratic Republic of Congo
who was raped by a group of soldiers, and then refused
treatment, because she could not afford it. When a French
medical organisation heard of her plight. They arranged for
her to be taken to one of their hospitals in the Democratic
Republic of Congo. Unfortunately she died during the journey.
Amnesty International members where encouraged to write
letters to their local M.Ps asking them to contact the
Minister for the Department For International Development
asking what support the UK government was providing to health
services in the DRC, and whether the UK government was urging
the DRC to arrest and bring to trial soldiers who commit
these horrible crimes.
The Control Arms campaign aims to bring about the creation of
an Arms treaty controlling the supply of Arms. Currently 15
UK based companies are involved in Arms supply to conflict
zones. In Africa the price of a landmine can be as little as
£0.50, whilst the price of a hand grenade can be as little as
£0.75. Amnesty International currently has more members than
the labour party here in the UK. And those members are
encouraged to speak out against horrible human rights abuses
committed in the world today.
At group level you find such positions as Chairperson,
Secretary, Treasurer, Press Officer, Trading Officer.
Campaign Co-Ordinators. Actions and campaign materials are
either sent to the secretary and the person responsible for
that particular campaign in the group from Head Office. The
Death Penalty campaign has featured in the past Kenny Richey
a Scot on Death Row in Ohio, U.S.A, executions in China, and
the execution of child offenders. Jaoquin Phoenix's character
in the film Hotel Rwanda states that people once they have
seen horrific massacres on the news will go oh my god, go and
eat their dinners and do nothing. However, Amnesty
International members are not like that. These people sign
letters, have stalls in shopping centres, write to local M.Ps
and the local media. Helping to give the victims of these
horrendous crimes a voice.
I joined AIUK because I did not want to be one of the people
who watched attrocities on the television and went oh my god
and did nothing. That is absolutely disgusting. I also did a
twenty thousand word dissertation on the Kurdish Problem in
the Middle East whilst I was at University. Which highlighted
all the human rights abuses committed by the Turkish
government. Joining AI at local group level becoming the Stop
Violence Against Women Campaign Co-Ordinator has made me feel
that my degree is worth something to someone. Even through it
is only a small amount of time each month. I would ideally
like to have paid employment in human rights. And I do not
turn an ignorant blind eye to business human rights abuses
even when it means I get cheap consumer paid goods. Joining
Amnesty International means that I cannot ignore human rights
abuses committed by companies such as Coca-Cola and murders of
Trade Unions in Columbia, working conditions in China, and
child workers in Bangladesh who work for pittance making
plastic bags for British Supermarkets. Sometimes, I feel
ashamed when I sell people cheap clothes and Coca-Cola at
my checkout. I also feel ashamed that many people choose to
ignore Human Rights abuses, because it means they get cheaper
goods and can go on holiday to places like Turkey with a
clearer conscience. If I see a review or topic I am interested
in I will read it. I also have not copied any texts from the
Amnesty Magazine and regard such accusations as an insult.
Every now and then a news article will come along that has the power to make most people in this country angry - around the world there are all kinds of injustices, and many of them do make you want to stand up and do something. As an ordinary person, there doesn't seem to be much scope for this. Whatever you might think, you can help to make a difference. Amnesty International is an organisation that challenges injustice and campaigns for human rights around the globe. It highlights the plight of people imprisonned, tortured and executed because they have said things their government didn't like, of those at the mercy of barbaric laws, of those 'dissapeared' by regeims that don't even bother to enshrine their violence in law. The Amnesty website gives you full information on who Amnesty is and what it is doing at the moment - news from around the world occupies the front page, and at the end of each news bite are the words 'take action'(click on them to go to a page where you are told what you can do and who you can petition). There are always things that you can do - on the website you will find peitions to sign, email addresses and snail mail addresses for people who can be lobbied. If there is someone specific you can approach in your country or the country where the problem is, its all there. Lobbying is powerful, and it does get results. If you approach your own politicians and try to get them to take interest in worldwide injustice, you can get things done.You can campaign for change. Amnesty has been going for 40 years now, it gets results and you can contribute to that. The website itself is ok in terms of design and navigation, but not massively easy to get round. Everything you need is there, but not always well labled. You may need to be patient, but its well worth it. There is information in other languages as well (but if you are reading this in English I guess that's of limited interest.)
You may have heard in the news about Aminal Lawal, the woman in Nigeria condemned to be stoned for adultry. If you want to help her and others like her, visit the website now. Just drop by now and then when you have some spare time and see if there is anything you can help with. Your time could save lives.