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Q: Getting accurate, complex data from respondents ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: Getting accurate, complex data from respondents
Category: Science > Social Sciences
Asked by: philatel-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 30 Nov 2006 05:24 PST
Expires: 30 Dec 2006 05:24 PST
Question ID: 786967
Our philanthropic corporation has a database of charities we've funded
and their services. The charities are contractually obliged to provide
us with certain data - in particular, where they provide their
services, whether the buildings are wheelchair-accessible, and how
their revenue divides up (dollars from local/state/federal govts,
donations, and charges for services).

We haven't kept the database up-to-date, and now we need to finish it
by Christmas. Management has told us not to wave the "contractual
obligation" stick. But we're having HEAPS of trouble getting the data
- we can't find people at the charities who know the answers, or the
answers are just guesses, or we end up going in circles speaking to
the same people over and over.

How do we get the data from the charities?

So far the ideas we've had are faxing them the questions in advance,
and telling half-truths (a.k.a. lies) to receptionists to get the
managers to speak to us (we usually just get told "he'll call back").

Our budget is pretty limited - any better ideas than faxes and fibs?
Subject: Re: Getting accurate, complex data from respondents
Answered By: keystroke-ga on 10 Dec 2006 12:50 PST
Hello philatel,

Thank you for your question.

It's unfortunate that the charities you're dealing with don't
appreciate your funds enough to give you the information you require. 
I would advise you to perhaps find some charities which are more
appreciative in the future, perhaps some small ones who won't have
managerial problems and could really use the funding.

Anyway, I'm going ahead and giving you this answer so that you can
complete it in time for the holidays.  What you need to do is send a
certified, return receipt requested letter to all the managers
involved.  The managers will have to sign for it themselves, see it
themselves, and then deal with it themselves if they're responsible. 
In this letter, I advise that you mention (in a sly way) that you do
in fact have contractual obligations to get this data and that if it
is not provided, you will remember the next time that charities are
being funded and your money will go elsewhere.  While you may not want
to be crass, they are the ones in the wrong and the best way to wake
people up is by hitting them in the pocketbook.  This pretty much
cannot be argued :)

You can also find much of the data you're looking for, such as where
the charity's money goes, in their tax forms to the IRS.  The IRS
declares that they must provide these documents upon request, but in
the past I have had difficulties similar to yours.  No one wants to
provide them, or the person who's in charge of providing them is away
for the day or out to lunch and no one else knows how to do it, or
worst of all, you get a grilling on why you want these documents in
the first place-- when it is the law that they by given out upon
request.  So, if the charities don't know where this information is,
you could certainly ask for their IRS tax return forms-- or for them
to look at their own forms and gather the information for you.

Faxing the questions to the manager, with the same veiled "threat" as
above, could work as well.

I really do advise you to look for other charities to work with if the
ones you've chosen have proven themselves to be so uncooperative. 
There are many deserving charities that would love your company's

If you need any additional clarification, let me know and I'll be glad
to assist you.

There are no comments at this time.

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