I was out picking up lunch the other day when I was accosted on the street by one of the ubiquitous (at least in the DC area) attractive young people attempting to raise funds for a national charity (whose t-shirt he was wearing).
The pitches usually range from annoying ("Do you have a minute for X cause today?" Uh, I might have a minute, but we both know that's not what you actually want...) to the downright offensive ("Do you care about X cause?" thus implying that if I don't open up my wallet for you on the street, I'm a hard-hearted jackass.)
Obviously, the practice works (otherwise they wouldn't do it), but I wonder if there's any way to calculate (or even estimate) what it costs them in lost revenue from people who, like me, get really annoyed and vow as a result never to give to that organization?
So what's the moral of the story for associations? Don't annoy the audience you're trying to reach, even if it seems like it might be effective - for every person who gives you $5, there are countless others who've now decided your organization will NEVER be worth their support (and some of them might've been worth a lot more than $5 to you).