Raise your hand if you've ever gotten a phone call from a tzedakah.
[waiting...ok, all the hands are up, as I suspected]
Okay, now raise your hand if you didn't have money to give at the time (or at the very least, had other places to give to which could use the money just as much, if not more).
[waiting...yeah, that's what I thought]
Is it just me, or do the people making these phone calls not know how to take "no" for an answer?! Honestly, they're worse than the Children's International stalkers on the streets of New York. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, you can say to one of these callers to make them understand that you are, in fact, not committing to "just a small $18 pledge today" (or a "small" $36 pledge, $100 pledge, etc).
Recently, I received a follow-up call from an organization which called me a couple of months ago. I told them at the time that I did not feel comfortable making a pledge for what I thought was a reasonable and valid reason, but the caller said, "Well, can we just send you an envelope?" So I told her she could, but that I wasn't making any sort of official pledge. "Well, I'll just put you down for $18."
Now they call back wanting to know where that $18 is! The reason I gave still holds, and I tried to explain it yet again to the recent caller, who still would not take "no" for an answer.
I know that tzedakahs are all strapped for cash right now. I know that many people who used to underwrite entire programs and make very generous donations are no longer able to do so, and that they are trying to make up for in volume what they lost in large lump sums. (Hey, it totally worked for Obama.) However, at the same time, I think it behooves them to realize that the people they are calling are often in no better financial shape than their no-longer-big donors, and pressuring and falsely putting down people for pledges is not going to make them any friends.