I’d say you either love ‘em or loathe ‘em,
but most people I talk to tend to fall into the second category.
It’s probably one of the most contentious
topics I come across when talking to friends or family about the charity
I find I’m split on the topic. Hammersmith
high street seems to be a hotspot for street fundraising, so I’m accosted on a
daily basis while popping out to the shops to pick up some lunch.
But, despite a mild irritation, I can
also understand the benefits of signing up long-term donors and what that can
do for the charities to be able to form a relationship with them, rather
than being a faceless person throwing 20pence into a collection tin on the
This week, the PFRA announced it would be
introducing a penalty points system for organisations whose fundraisers are
guilty of aggressive behaviour or working outside an assigned area. They will
be awarded points for bad behaviour, with each point having a value of £1. If
an organisation accrues more than 1,000 points a year it will be billed the
equivalent amount in pounds.
While some people clearly find chuggers at best irritating, and at worst intimidating, there is the worry that the
fines-based system may reduce the effectiveness of charity fundraisers if
they are too scared to approach the public for fear or accruing a fine.
There does need to be an element of
pushiness, because it’s just too easy otherwise for people to walk on by.
Last week, during a quick lunch break, I
found myself faced with a fundraiser from a charity I have been tempted to
donate to in the past, but I found others always took precedence. I was in a
rush and tempted to walk on by, but the fundraiser casually approached me and
with a friendly, confident manner made me stop. He was determined, and, I guess
a little pushy, but without that I would have kept going.
Maybe I was in the right mood, or maybe it
was because it was a charity I wanted to donate to but just hadn’t had time to
before; but if he’d stood there passively, he would have watched me walk right
on by. As it was, I signed up.
Street fundraising works. That’s why
charities do it. The public clearly do sign up to donate, but let’s hope that
the new system doesn’t stifle this form of fundraising, because in the current economic climate, charities need
all the money they can get.