Storming the CASL: What About In-Person Spam?

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Today, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL – playfully pronounced “castle”) took effect, primarily focused on Commercial Electronic Messages. It is regarded by many as the world’s toughest stance on spam by any government body. Interesting that it’s launching on Canada Day, perhaps sending some subliminal message of strength and patriotism.

In this post, I will make no judgements, commentary, or declare my opinion about CASL itself – there are plenty of people already doing that. In the end, I am against spam and unwanted communications, and the effect they have on those of us who are trying to communicate properly, meaningfully and respectfully. It desensitizes and jades people to communications and creates a population of annoyed cynics – and who can blame them for becoming that way.

My question is, what about in-person spam? Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • You just meet someone and they are trying to sell you and close you from the first sentence
  • At an event, you see someone who is rapid-firing out their business card at anyone who will take it, and doesn’t bother getting to actually know anyone
  • Someone is not listening to you at all in a conversation and just keeps talking over you, through you and around you
  • People who express views from a place of hatred and exclusion, such as racists and bigots
  • An acquaintance who is always asking for something and never offers anything in return

  • What we really need is a shared understanding of what is appropriate, and to respect each other enough abide by that understanding. Rather than trying to get louder and noisier to make your voice heard, maybe what you really need to do is listen.

    To stop yourself before from becoming an in-person spammer:

  • Listen well and really get to know people
  • Ask questions and practice curiosity to increase your understanding
  • Heighten your self-awareness and the impact you have on others
  • Make sure you understand how people want to be treated and then do that
  • Ensure all of your communications are meaningful and respectful, and not just about you all the time.

  • This brief conversation of tweets from two respected friends says it all – and applies no matter what channel you’re using. This is in response to the flurry of emails Canadians have been receiving to obtain “opt-in” explicit consent for ongoing communications, many of which have been less than stellar.

    Spam is spam, wherever it’s coming from.

    Constant Questions: Have you ever experienced in-person spam? What is the worst story you have? How do you think we can avoid it? Have you ever actually eaten Spam or its lesser known cousin Klik?

    The ultimate SPAM video!

    Creative Gratitude

    Thank you to all who took part in the “Thank you, but no thank you” contest, AKA #BestTY. Wait, after all of my preaching about not opening with ‘thank you’, let me restate that first sentence. You deserve respect, gratitude and a pat on the back for taking part and supporting this contest. Whether you placed an entry, promoted it, or even thought about how you thank people, kudos to you.

    This contest was about being different, getting creative and finding new and interesting ways to thank donors. Charities, non-profits, do-gooders and pretty much anyone was invited to share their best opening line for a donor thank you, on Twitter in 140 characters or less to boot. I was very happy and blown away by the response and support from everyone. If you were following along, hopefully, you picked up some good ideas.

    Huge appreciation to our esteemed judges panel for all of their support. They were there along the way, giving advice, sharing the contest and ultimately making the very difficult decision about who should win!

    Mary Cahalane
    John Lepp
    Ann Rosenfield
    Brock Warner

    So, the moment of truth. The winner of the contest is… Dignitas International for the inspiring entry below.

    Why was this entry the most popular amongst our judges? It is personal, mentioning the date of the gift. It is focused on the donor. It is attention-grabbing. It draws you in right away. It talks about impact. It connects the decision to donate with that very same impact. All great traits of a great opening line for a donor thank you.

    Congratulations Dignitas! Many members of their team jumped in on this thanking action.Your team wins a $25 Amex card and of course a review of an appeal or letter courtesy of the creative minds at Agents of Good. Agents, you really rock for providing this amazing prize!

    A Special Judge’s Prize was provided by Ann Rosenfield for an entry she felt had to win something. Congratulations AC (@Connectwithcoop). For this entry below, you win a $10 Starbucks card – and thanks, Ann for providing this prize!


    Other honourable mentions that resonated with the judges panel include:








    Great work, all you thanking machines!

    The 3 random winners of $10 Amazon gift cards just for having the courage to enter are:

    Carmen Clayton (@Carmen_Clayton)
    Beth Ann Locke (@fundraiserbeth)
    Rekha (@rekhsy)

    Next time you have to thank someone, do as these people did, and get creative. Your donors deserve it for supporting you.

    I would love your feedback about this contest, whether you took part or not. Should we do this again? How can we make this contest even better and more appealing? How can we get 1,000 entries and get even more idea sharing happening?

    A new beginning

    Joining the blog-o-sphere now is like being the last one at a party – everyone’s there already and has a lay of the land, but with some time and help from a few well-intentioned friends, it was like you were always there.

    I have started this blog to get discussions going about social change, how we can enhance our lives and the lives of others, and the fascinating phenomenon that is human nature. If you are very intrigued by what motivates people to give, to get involved, to grow and to do the zany things they often do, then this just may be a place for you to stop into every once in a while.

    This is a two-way universe, so I hope you will answer the Constant Questions that will be asked – whether you agree, disagree, or think that I belong on Jupiter.

    Thank you for going on this journey with me, and I hope that you are at least mildly entertained!

    Are You Not Entertained?