>During the creation of New Bern Now, I spent many months researching information about this great city. This process required cold calling businesses and community groups to try to verify their contact information. Can you guess what their answer was when I said “I’m not selling anything, this is a free community website”. If I kept statistics on the results I would guess 90% of the answers were, “Call back when the owner returns” (I did and there was no answer). I’m sure caller ID had a lot to do with it.
What is my point? I suppose a lot of us, me included, have conditioned ourselves to let the answering machine pickup or just hang up on an unrecognized phone number because we think someone is trying to sell us something.
So how does a new business or non-profit organization reach out to the community? Do they spend $0.44 on postage for each letter sent to a potential donor or client? Do they spend $64 per month to have their name and phone number listed in the yellow pages? Or resort to newspaper, radio, or television advertising? They would be broke before they started.
This article is not to take anything away from the local media; they provide valuable services to our community and help established businesses advertise their services and products. It is to make a point for local residents and businesses to embrace our fellow businesses and non-profit organizations and listen to their message. As a volunteer for a local non-profit and small business owner, I’ve experienced the “run around” from all sides. If people are not interested, just say so and that’s the end of the story.
Don’t waste someone’s time by telling them to call back at a certain time or wait by the phone for a call that will never come. You never know when that volunteer will help your family member or friend during a disaster or when that business owner is the only one available to provide crucial services to you.
Let’s work on bringing faith in humanity back to our community and listen to our local business owners or volunteers when they reach out to us.