If donor services won’t answer email, then why promote it?

I’ve been a donor-member of Amnesty International USA for about 40 years.

Last year I decided to set myself up on monthly payments via my checking account bill pay system. Since then, every month I get a receipt mailed to me. I file it away, without really looking at it.

Today I read through the receipt and noticed that it had a check box that said I could “go green” by having my monthly support debited from my checking account. Well, I want to “go green.” And I’m already having my support debited from my checking account.

So I thought I’d contact Member Services, which the receipt tells me I can do if I have any questions regarding my account.


It says I could email them at aimember@aiusa.org. So I did.

I got a very rapid automated response.

Here is what it said:

Dear Member:

Thank you for contacting Member Services at Amnesty International USA. This is an automatically generated reply message to help you with your request.

Because of the volume of email we receive, we are unable to personally respond to every message. (my emphasis added)

To change or cancel your monthly donation, see below or please call 1-800-AMNESTY (1-800-266-3789). We are not able to process changes via email and your pledge is not changed or cancelled until you have spoken to a customer services representative.

Then it goes on to list a ton of options, none of which respond to my request.

So I called customer service. Not too long a wait… maybe 3 minutes.

I spoke to Thomas. At first he told me the only option was to cancel all the mail I receive from AIUSA. That wasn’t what I was looking to do. Then he said something about conforming to legal requirements. Hmmm.

It took a while but he finally found or offered me the “paperless membership” which would stop the monthly receipts and send me a year end receipt. Yes, that’s what I want and hopefully that will be set up.

Then I told him that I thought they shouldn’t be telling members to contact Member Services via email if they weren’t going to respond to the emails personally. He explained about a “new liaison” and “some internal changes.”


I strongly suggested again that it didn’t make sense to tell members to send email if they could only get their questions answered or action taken by calling customer service.

I got again the response  about “internal changes.”

I told him that as a 40 year donor their  “internal changes” really didn’t matter to me. What mattered to me was that AIUSA told me to contact them via email and then told me that they were unlikely to respond to my email and that I should call customer service.

He was nice. I was crabby. That happens when I get silly bureaucratic responses.

I suggested he share my comments with his supervisor. He told me he was the supervisor. Oh well.

I told him that I was going to share this story on my blog.

I really care about the work of Amnesty International. They did at least offer donor services.

I hope they use up that supply of monthly pledge receipts quickly, or create the ability to respond to email requests.

I do wonder how many donors or gift upgrades they might be losing because they don’t respond to their emails.


What do you know. I received a human response to my email. Turns out I am one of the lucky ones who made it through to a personal response.

Lovely Sara explained the reason for my receipts. Though I’m not sure she checked my account to see that my problem was resolved yesterday. I guess I’ll wait to see what happens next month.

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