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

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

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Life and Style
life
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
News
peopleWrestling veteran drifting in and out of consciousness
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

    £20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40 - £50K first year: SThree: SThree Group an...

    Business Analyst,HR,Halifax,£400-450pd

    £400 - £450 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    Recruitment Consultants - IT - Trainee / Experienced

    £20000 - £30000 per annum + OTE £40-50K first year: SThree: The SThree group i...

    Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone