OK, so after months of effort in attempting to set up a campaign with COTA, I am officially closing our campaign. COTA is not interested in working with transplant families. They are not interested in apologizing when they mess up.
I asked before we got started if I could keep Teddy’s blog and was told yes. After we signed our agreement with them (which did NOT mention blogs), they said we could not. (they want me to move my writing to their website, which I’m not about to do for several reasons.) My last conversation with them, they said they’d see what they could do. The phone call I got today started with “have you had a chance to think about that any more?” Um… No. I kindly explained to him that I’m sorry if the impression he got of my conversation with the last guy was that I was going to think about it, but how we actually left the conversation was that I was done thinking and he was going to see what he could do. He then told me I probably misinterpreted what I was told originally. Because, you know, “yes” is a very easy thing to misinterpret.
He said that they could not possibly monitor blogs that were on outside servers, but maintained that they read all of the blogs on their own servers. I mentioned to him the possibility of using a blog reader like Google Reader, to pull all of their family blogs into their feed – it wouldn’t be markedly different from what they’re doing now. Oh, well, it sure would, because they have 38,000 families!! (and so what? 38,000 blogs on your own server or 38,000 blogs in your blog reader. Not much different.) He would not answer if I could blog on my page but feed it to theirs or vice versa. Nobody’s ever asked that before… and apparently, finding an answer wasn’t a high priority.
I mentioned that it had taken a long time to find someone who would run the campaign because of all of their requirements. He said he had no idea why it would take that long. I said, gosh, I don’t have a cadre of friends with time on their hands. Everyone has lives. They’re busy. They’re not skilled with fundraising. A good chunk of my fellow kidney moms have the SAME problem – people are just busy. Particularly when you narrow it down to just people who live geographically close to us – I’m friends with mostly people with young kids. Which you would expect, seeing as how I also have young kids. Us people with young kids tend to gravitate towards each other.
He said the only conditions I could keep the blog were if I didn’t mention fundraising at all. I said I didn’t think there was much point to doing a fundraising campaign if I couldn’t ever mention it. And then he told me I was not what COTA was looking for. Yes, he fired me from COTA.
He also continued to maintain that IRS regulations dictated this. I asked, as past president of a 501(c)3 myself, if he could give me that reference in the IRS regulations because I was afraid that our organiation might be running afoul of that reg and it turns out, oh, yeah, it’s NOT an actual regulation. No kidding. But it comes from 20 years of doing this with a clean bill from the IRS. Oh, ok, yes, let me bow down to your 20 years of experience with the IRS. I think SDM’s been at it for over 10 years now.
SO… transplant families. Steer clear of COTA. (And, actually, I’ve had several people mention that they’d had trouble with COTA and had to close campaigns early, as well, and I didn’t listen.)
The gentleman I spoke with today was using a polite tone of voice, but he wasn’t listening, and he was very condescending. He had me on speakerphone and didn’t say who else was in the room, which is rude.
If you already donated to COTA, they will be giving us our money. If you were thinking about donating to COTA, please don’t. Teddy’s page at Fundraise is still open and you may use that. I’ll be updating the links in the sidebar, as well. Glad I wasted time taking down the Fundraise link and putting up COTA. Jerks.