Chuggers

Earlier this week, I was stopped by a chugger in Richmond. We see a lot of chuggers in Richmond. I suppose that the charities see it as an area that still has a lot of disposable income. Usually I have my earphones in so they ignore me, but this was at lunch when I’d just popped out for a sandwich so I was easy prey.

She bounced up to me in that overenthusiastic way that many of them have and started talking to me as thought we were old friends. I asked her which charity she represented, told her that I never support charities that stop me in the street and walked off. Even as I made my exit she was saying “but we can still have a chat…”

From talking to friends I know that I’m not the only person who hates being stopped by chuggers. I don’t know anyone who claims to enjoy it. So I started to wonder about the economics of it. Surely so few people sign up on the street that’s it can only just be worthwhile for the charites. And if that’s the case, then perhaps it would only take a small change in public attitudes to make it completely uneconomical.

Denny pointed me at this report from Newnight last August which goes into some of the details. I was astonished at how much it costs the charities. The first thing to realise is that the chuggers don’t work directly for the charities. They work for fundraising companies who will work for many different charities. So there are a lot of people who need to be paid out of the donations you sign up for,

It turns out that many charities pay around £100 for each person who signs up on the street. If we assume that most people pay a tenner a month, then it’s nearly a year before the charity makes any money at all out of the deal. And, of course, if you stop the direct debit before you’ve donated £100, the poor charity will be out of pocket.

I accept, of course, that times are hard and charities are as short of money as the rest of us. So, of course, they will try any means at their disposal to make money. But to use this method, which has a pretty good chance of them losing money shows just ho desperate they are. But perhaps we can use this to our advantage and send the charities a message telling them how unwelcome chugging is.

Depending on my mood, I tell chuggers one of three things when they stop me. If I’m in a hurry I’ll just say what I said this week – that I never give money to people who stop me on the street. If I have more time or am feeling a little more evil I’ll explain that because I have been stopped I will never support that charity financially in the future. If I’m feeling really bad and want to ruin the chuggers day then I’ll say that I currently support that charity with a monthly payment of £20 a month. but that because they’re using this rude tactics I now intend to cancel the direct debit. Feel free to use those if you think they’re useful.

But, of course, there will be charities who you see chugging that you want to support. One common excuse for chugging that I hear is that they remind people that a charity still exists. And, of course, if you want to support a charity then you should support them. However, if you’re going to sign a direct debit to make regular payments to support a charity, then it is really important that you don’t sign the chugger’s form. If you sign that form then most of your first year’s payments will go to pay for the chugger and their company. No, if you really want to support a charity, then go to their web site and fill in a form their. That way the charity gets all of your money.

Actually, that might just trump all of the other things that I tell chuggers. Next time I’m stopped I’ll tell them that I intend to visit the charity’s web site as soon as I get back to my desk. Surely they can’t object to me taking action which gives the charity more money. I wonder what they would say?

Now I want to be stopped next week so I can try it out.

P.S. One important point that I missed. If you ever decide that you aren’t going to support a charity because of their use of chuggers or if you just get annoyed by chuggers and want to complain to someone, then please use the ‘contact us’ form on the charity’s web site to let them know. If enough people tell the charities what we think of chuggers then perhaps they’ll realise how many people they are alienating.

20 thoughts on “Chuggers

  1. I just tell them that I will only pay by standing order so that I have control of when the money leaves my account …

  2. I am not currently a charity fundraiser, but I was for a considerable period Charities pay for fundraisers out of their fundraising budget. face to face fundraising is the most effective method of fundraising. fundraisers get sent to all sorts of areas; all the fundraising companies in the country get together and make sure the same area is not being targeted by the same charity too often. the money people give goes directly to the charities and really has nothing to do with the companies who fundraise – as i understand it most fundraising budgets come out of gift aid which most donators agree to. companies which fundraise for charities have already been paid by said charities to do so (except in cases where they work for smaller charities for free for a day, say) and have promised a certain amount of sign-ups with certain quality requirements such as age, data capture and employment statistics. charity fundraisers who are ethical will make sure that their donators know they need to sign up for as long as possible and will usually ask for a minimum term, but of course, if you don’t like street fundraisers, you won’t know this. charity fundraisers who aren’t ethical deserve to be spat on, but they aren’t the majority and they don’t usually last long. if you don’t like chuggers, a simple no thanks should be sufficient. many people don’t mind chuggers, as i know from having spent months working as one. many people are glad of the opportunity to do a good thing without having to sit down and do hours of research. many people who sign up just happen to be at a point in their lives where they have been meaning to donate for a while but haven’t found time to do said research and/or remembered to set something up. charity fundraisers talk to hundreds if not thousands of people a day to find the few happy souls who can and will donate. charity fundraisers who are rude usually don’t last long. charity fundraisers who seem bizarre are probably trying to keep their own spirits up after having met half a dozen unpleasant people like your friend who thinks it’s a good things to upset someone who’s doing good work for the world. if you sign up to a charity through a chugger all of the money you donate goes directly to the charity; personally i don’t give a shit if you prefer to go home and donate online so long as you actually do that, and i have no way of knowing whether you will, and even if you do that (bear in mind something ridiculously small like 1% of donations come from online donators) the credit for having reminded or convinced you to do so no longer goes to the aforementioned chugger doing the aforementioned good work in the world. if you say to a chugger who is having a bad day that you wish to donate online, they may be a bit sad or upset that they are not getting credit for the good work they are doing in the world. they may wish to convince you to give them that credit. charity fundraisers also have targets to meet and bills to pay, and often end up spending a lot more on warm cups of tea in a day than you might in your lovely warm indoor job where you are hopefully not surrounded by people who think that what you are doing is wrong and you shouldn’t be paid for it and who intentionally try to upsert you, personally, because of their mistaken beliefs. if you tell a charity fundraiser who is having a good day that you wish to donate online, they will wish you well and cross their fingers that you actually do, and that they have made a difference to their charity. BOTH OF THESE FUNDRAISERS WILL THEN FORGET YOU AND GET ON WITH THEIR JOBS.

  3. “chuggers don’t work directly for the charities” – That’s not always true, though in many cases they will be using agencies. I know Friends of the Earth train their own staff for example (or at least they did for a while).

    1. Good point well made – at the time I wasn’t aware just how many charities have in-house fundraisers (Shelter, FoE and Greenpeace amongst others).

    2. A lot of charities, such as the one I work for, also have in house fundraising teams. If they do, then this means the fundraiser is paid for by the charity and the direct debits they get will go directly too the charity, there is no £100 agency fee, or any sort of agency involved. Fundraisers wages, for most charity’s are covered by gift aid and taken out of fundraising budgets, which charities have to spend money on to be able to apply for corporate or government sponshorship. Working as a ‘chugger’ myself (although I prefer to go by high street warrior) I can tell you that all of the above reasons wouldn’t ruin my day, they would just highlight to me that you were misinformed. Something else people don’t realise is that we, ‘chuggers’, realise were annoying, which is why elthicall fundraisers, like myself, strive to be as polite as possible. In house fundraising teams are trained to NOT use guilt tripping devices or pressuring techniques, but simply to inspire a potential donor to so something that the fundraiser GENUINELY thinks is worthwhile. I seriously care about the charity I work for, as do lost fundraisers- do you really think we’d put up with rejection and rudeness we recieve from the general public, on a daily basis, if we didn’t?
      Id to also highlight that this isn’t a rant, or me slating agency workers either- fundraising agency’s do a lot of great work for charities, in if nothing else promoting another form of advertising, however, i was trying to highlight the difference between agency fundraising sections and in-house operations, to open the minds of people who may read this article, because if people remain this dis informed and don’t sign up to charities because of the charities use of fundraisers, this could be damaging for hundreds of charities globally and stop millions of people from being able to be helped by charities such as the BRC and Shelter, two organisations that both have in-house fundraising sections nationally (and for BRC internationally) that bring in other a third of the funding for these charities, both of which are reliant on F2F fundraisers for this source of income, as neither uses TV or other more expensive forms of advertising regularly.

  4. Do not believe or listen to Helen Clavering. She is a chugger and i’ve read this cut and paste post in other blogs, comments pages and bbs etc. I think they share these lies in their chugger communities as templates and saturate the internet with ‘positive’ propaganda. Chuggers are very manipulative and very deceitful.

    By the way, don’t ever stop for a chugger or give them the time of day, just ignore them. They don’t deserve an excuse, just snub the lying parasitic scum.

      1. Denny, don’t be a silly boy. I would never apologise to a chugger or anyone who defends these scumbags. What have i got to apologise for? Telling the truth? Never!!!

        1. Mike, Denny’s point is that you haven’t been telling the truth though.

          You said “i’ve read this cut and paste post in other blogs, comments pages and bbs etc” and Denny’s links show that this clearly isn’t the case.

          I have no love of chuggers (as I hope my original post indicates), but what’ the point in making stuff up about them?

          1. Dave and Denny, just to make things clear I did not make it up. Much of what helen has added here has been used in other posts as I recognise it. Do you really think she typed all that?

            Denny, just to inform you that you Google searches never give you definitive result and can’t be used as proof that text do not exist for a number of reasons. In fact your search criteria are not the parts that I recognise as reposts.

            I can now remember many of these duplicate posts were posted on http://www.intelligentgiving.com which were a charity watchdog and now do not exist. None of the content of their site is searchable via Google which is a shame. Many media pages will not show up in any search engine either, particularly those that have been archived, some protected sites won’t register etc. Basically you can’t use this as evidence to prove anything.

            Denny, you look rather young so I can understand your naivity on this issue but Dave you look as though you should know better than to believe Denny’s bullshit.

            I have wrongly been accused of lying and I would expect an apologie from you both but I doubt that i’ll get one.

            However as I believe/hope we are batting for the same side you may be interested in my Facebook group called ‘The Guide to Fightback against:- Chuggers, Street fundraiser Charitymuggers’.

            Here is a direct link and you are welcome to join if you wish as there is alot of every informative (and truthful!!!) content on their .

            http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=9150633906

          2. It’s hard to prove a negative, but I believe that I took a fair and reasonable try at it. It’d be very very easy to prove that you were right though – simply link to a post somewhere else on the web (preferably posted before this post), that uses a few of the same phrases as those Helen used above to defend chugging.

            Unless and until you do so then yes, I am inclined to believe that you are lying.

          3. Denny, it can be hard to prove a negative but you obviously thought on this occassion it was easy until I blew your evidence out fo the sky. It also can be hard to prove a positive as I explained in my previous post. The intelligent giving site no longer exists and do you really expect me to spend hours trawling through thousands of posts in blogs, comments pages etc to find them?

            I’m not expecting people to believe me but give me some benefit of the doubt. i think you still believe i’m lying because you are too embarrassed or arrogant to admit that you are wrong when you posted your ‘evidence’ to prove that I was lying.

            If I find evidence to back my claim, i’ll post it on here. I’ve been campaining against chuggers for some years now, why would I make things up about them. I have no need to do that and have no need to throw mud in their direction. My facebook group contains all the information that anyone would need if they wish to find out about chugging and I challenge you to find one lie in this group.

            visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/group.php?gid=9150633906

  5. I find this but funny from the chugger Helen Clavering .

    ‘if you say to a chugger who is having a bad day that you wish to donate online,
    they may be a bit sad or upset that they are not getting credit for the good
    work they are doing in the world.’By credit, I assume she means commission!!!! They’re only in it for the money. If they were genuin charity workers and cared for the charity, they would be delighted that they’ve raised awareness of their charity and someone might donate online instead.

    1. Hi Mike,

      by credit I mean credit. Most fundraisers are paid a basic wage and can get bonus if they do really remarkably well, but I suppose anything more than minimum wage looks corrupt to you?

      Consider this: If every person a fundraiser talks to goes home and donates online instead of signing up on the street, the charity in question *might* notice a hike in donations from that area, but they wouldn’t be able to tell the overall effectiveness of individual fundraisers, or particular teams. When people sign up to donate regularly, the charity/the fundraiser’s bosses can tell they are doing an effective job. That’s being given credit for good work.

  6. I have not made stuff up about them. I have read much of this before elsewhere but I can’t remember where. I’m not lying to you. Why do you think I am?

    1. Hi Mike,

      I’m not a liar, I do type everything I think myself (someone’s got to) and I’ve spent a lot less time and effort writing on this particular page than you have, so the idea that nobody would bother to write all that much is, frankly, bollocks.

      At the risk of you trolling me there, I include a link to my blog where AFTER originally reading this post I went and wrote about being a fundraiser: http://sevenhelz.dreamwidth.org/285199.html

      Again, you’ll note that I do write a lot, about various topics. As a graduate I suppose I’ve spent enough time writing to a certain brief that I find it much easier to simply pen my thoughts.

      To Denny and Dave, thanks for the support.

  7. I’ve been buying from, and donating to charity shops for years. It helps me get by on a low income and helps the charities directly. So I’m not anti-charity as such, but chuggers really wind me up. They are extremely pushy and often very rude. They are also only the initial assault. If you are foolish enough to sign up to a small direct debit, your details will be handed on to their phone teams who will try to push you into increasing your donation. I thought of a couple of fight-back ideas. Ask Amnesty International for help because your human rights are being compromised by chuggers, fund raising for Amnesty International. Worth it for comedy value at least. Then if you really feel threatened, carry an attack alarm and use it if a chugger gets too close. My last idea, alley hopping, or finding alternative routes. For instance if you are suffering from chuggers in Bromley High Street (Kent), you can by-pass them by going through the Glades shopping centre or by climbing the steps on the park side of the Churchill Theatre, (that last route is also a good work-out). We could also create an online map of chugging hotspots and avoidance routes. Also, if anyone working for a charity hates chugging as much as we do, feed us with information. Times, dates, you get the idea. Remember persistence overcomes resistance. If the Egyptians can get rid of a dictator, we can get rid of chuggers. Thanks for reading.

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