Warning: chuggers ahead

August 20, 2009

Street fundraising for charity has boomed in the past few years — so much so that public opinion appears to be turning against the so-called “chuggers” or charity muggers.

Now Westminster and Wandsworth councils in London want to limit their numbers and their hours.

There are too many of them, the argument runs, they annoy businesses because people cross the road to avoid them and people are basically just fed up with the clipboards and the cheery grins.

But are they acting too harshly? The chuggers may be pushy — the unkind might even bracket them in with sarky Big Issue sellers and the people who thrust free newspapers into your face as modern urban nuisances — but they do bring in a significant amount of revenue for charities.

Mark Carter-Nesbitt, director of fundraising company Urban Leaf, said: “Fundraisers are in the streets to improve the lives of others who are considerably worse off than passers-by on the High Street.

“If you don’t want to give through a street fundraiser, all you need do is politely say no and move on.

“Traditional fundraising methods just would not allow many charities to keep up services beneficiaries need.”

But charity watchdog Intelligent Giving, which carried out a “mystery shopper” survey of 50 face-to-face fundraisers, representing 18 charities, found that many misled the public and were motivated more by greed than by altruism.

What do you think – have you had enough of chuggers?


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I find a determined look and a slight quickening of the pace enough to get past the chuggers. In Battersea, at least, they’re not half as much of an annoyance as the bogus “Big Issue” sellers carrying a moth-eaten copy of that rag dating from 1993 (you know who you are) who claim to be selling it but when taken up on the offer plead “last copy – could you just make a donation”.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

Yes, I have. They are annoying and pointless. Half of these charities should be funded by the government where the money can be distributed fairly.

Posted by susan millay | Report as abusive

Fundraising should be done at parties, not on the streets.

Posted by Jean Partington | Report as abusive

I think the whole argument of defending chugging as its beneficial to charities is completely missing the point. The majority of people that complain about chugging have not go an issue with charities themselves, its all about the manipulative tactics used. I personally won’t give to any charity because of this. People have the right not to be bullied or harrassed in the streets for money even if its for charitable perposes. Also it is a fundamental right that people should be allowed to go about their day to day business without being bullied for money and local councils should and I think are realising this.

Chugging is intrusive and many people don’t like it. Chuggers also harrass and guilt trip people as they walk by. They’ve also been known to lie about their cause. Check on www.intelligentgiving.com to find out more information about them.

This form of fundraising is currently unregulated by local councils because they are exploiting a loophole in the law which controls only cash collections and not direct debits.

You’ll be relieved to know that this loophole is about to be closed in 2010 and councils will have the power to stop their dubious practices. I would recommend complaining to your local council licensing debt by sending an email in order the them to tighten up these controls on Chugging in 2010. If you don’t complain, they won’t solve this issue.

Posted by Mike Smith | Report as abusive