Alberni fire chief douses telemarketing bid

Donate to local firefighting causes instead of to those through a telemarketer, Port Alberni fire chief says.

If you want to invest in a good charity benefiting local firefighters, then you can do so right at home instead of through a telemarketer, says Port Alberni fire chief Tim Pley.

A motion was passed Monday by city council advising the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs that the city doesn’t support the association’s current telemarketing fundraising efforts.

In a presentation to council, Pley said that he has no qualm with the message that the money is being raised for.

His problem is with the messenger.

The association is using a telemarketing service to fundraise for various initiatives, one of which is supporting training projects in small volunteer departments.

Calls from the service started being made to Port Alberni residents last week.

“I’m opposed to this practice because it’s invasive and it takes advantage of the good relations built up by firefighters in the community,” Pley said.

“And people aren’t talking to firefighters on the phone, they’re talking to a telemarketing contractor.”

Assistant fire chief Chris Jancowski and Pley are both members of the association, and Pley has raised his concerns with them. “But they’re not going to listen to just me.”

Telemarketers charge a hefty fee based on how much money they raise. “That means that a very small amount of money actually goes back into the cause it was intended for,” Pley said.

The Port Alberni Fire Department and the Valley’s three volunteer departments already fundraise for local initiatives.

The PAFD for instance fundraises for Muscular Dystrophy, the burn fund, a calendar project and KidSport.

If people are contacted by telemarketers on behalf of the association, Pley said they can politely decline.

Instead, they can donate directly to the fire department or to a charity of their choice in the Valley.

And if they want to support volunteer department initiatives then they can donate to the PAFD, which in turn will forward every dollar to the CAFC for that cause.

“Every dollar we raise goes to those causes and not to a telemarketer,” Pley said.

The CAFC didn’t respond to a request for an interview by deadline.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com