The fundraisers who come armed with clipboards
High-street 'chuggers' raise millions for good causes – but there could be better ways for us to give, says Harriet Meyer
Sunday 11 November 2007
Walk down almost any major city high street in the run-up to Christmas and you will see them – charity fundraisers clad in fluorescent jackets and armed with clipboards, trying to get shoppers to make direct debit donations to good causes.
While some view them as essential fundraisers, others consider them a bit of a nuisance, obstructing the pavement and using our guilt as a sales tactic. For this reason, they have been given the unflattering name of "chuggers" – part charity collectors, part muggers. But whatever side you are on, there is little doubt as to the effectiveness of chugging.
Last year alone, 210,000 people were persuaded to sign up in the street to support charities, according to the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association. Of the £24m raised last year by Shelter, the charity for the homeless, a quarter came from donors recruited by street fundraisers.
"It has brought in literally millions of new donors," says Alan Gosschalk, Shelter's fundraising director. "On average, every £1 spent on face-to-face fundraising brings in a return of £3."
The majority of street fundraisers work for third-party agencies that have contracts with charities. So if you are considering signing on the dotted line, is the money going directly to the cause? According to Charity Facts, which provides information about the sector, an agency will typically take a fee of £50 to £60 for each person signed up.
Before you agree to donate via street fundraising, ask the collector to tell you exactly how much of your money is going to the charity. Be careful, too, when giving out your bank details to someone claiming to be collecting for charity. "Check they have an authentic ID and a registered charity number," advises Chris Kiggell of the Charity Commission, who adds: "If you know you want to donate money to a charity, then give directly and skip the middle man to maximise your contribution."
Street fundraisers will be subject to a new law from 2009 forcing them to apply for a special Charity Commission permit as well as a local authority one. The legislation will also give councils the power to restrict the number of chuggers operating in their area; in fact, many are lobbying for this to happen sooner, as some shopping streets are already swamped by fundraisers.
So worried about the activities of some street collectors is the trade body the Institute of Fundraising that it issued best-practice guidelines to chuggers earlier this year, calling on them to be non-aggressive and to avoid "congestion and nuisance to the public".
If you prefer to give direct to charity, make sure you make the most of your contribution. Under the Gift Aid scheme, charities can reclaim basic-rate tax relief on any voluntary donations, provided the donor is a taxpayer. For example, 22p can be reclaimed on a donation of 78p, increasing the donation to £1.
What's more, Gift Aid enables higher-rate taxpayers to reclaim the 18 per cent difference between the two tax bands – the basic and higher rate – for themselves when filing their tax return.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
How couples can protect their financial interests when cohabiting
Authorities failing in hunt for 'most wanted' tax dodgers who owe HMRC £844m
Buyers beware of new-build home headaches
Dirty tricks in a divorce can cause some nasty surprises
A student's guide to financial survival: You don't have to drown in debt at university
- 1 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Daily Show's Jon Stewart destroys Fox News for its Ferguson coverage
- 4 Botched ice bucket challenge leaves man critically injured after plane drops hundreds of gallons of water
- 5 Friends reunion: Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox perform mini sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...
£400 - £450 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40-50K first year: SThree: The SThree group i...
£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...
Day In a Page
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony