Street fundraiser

Street fundraiser

A street fundraiser is a person who collects donations on behalf of a charity. They may be a paid employee of the charity (or a company working on behalf of the charity), or they may be a volunteer .

Face to Face Fundraising

'Face to face' fundraising, which includes street and door to door fundraising, has in recent years become a major source of income for many charities around the world. The practice of hiring paid street fundraisers whose main task was to talk to the public and convince them to make a financial contribution began in Austria in the late 1990s and spread rapidly. The reason the technique is so popular is that charities usually get a very profitable return on their investment (often around 5:1 [] ) because the person is asked to donate on a regular basis. By securing long term donations, charities are able to plan future campaigns in the knowledge that they have a guaranteed amount of money to work with.

Face to face fundraisers also serve to raise awareness of small charities and highlight the importance of new campaigns in larger, more well known organisations. The primary role of a fundraiser is to secure financial support, but charities also consider it an effective way to reach people and share important information. It is known to be particularly effective as a method of engaging young people who may not normally consider themselves interested in the charity's work.

The changes to the Charities Act 2004 mean significant changes to Face-to-Face Fundraising. From 1st April, 2008, professional (paid) fundraisers will be required to disclose that they are paid to the public and fundraising agencies will be required to disclose the donor recruitment costs involved in that campaign. How this affects face-to-face fundraising in the UK remains to be seen as the public's reaction to the amounts charged by fundraising organisations become transparent for the first time. Initial respsonses show that the public are very responsive to this transparency and very few people, once willing to sign-up, do not do so because the fundraiser is paid.

treet Fundraising

Paid street fundraisers stand in busy areas and approach passers-by to convince them to donate money to the charitable cause he/she is promoting. They will briefly explain the work of the charity and try to engage the person in a dialogue about the issues the charity focuses on. The fundraiser will then push the conversation towards asking for a financial contribution (via Direct debit or standing order), often a regular monthly or yearly pledge.

Street fundraisers often work in teams. They are normally be paid by the hour, or occasionally through commission or performance related pay, or a combination of both. The thinking behind using commission is that the more people the fundraiser convinces to donate to the charity, the better the return on investment. However, this situation can lead to the fundraiser using high pressure selling technique which may lead to a greater number of the new supporters quickly cancelling their support, thus eliminating the charity's supposed financial gain. Commission is also unpopular with both employees and members of the public. In the United Kingdom, fundraisers are legally obliged to point out to potential donors if they are paid when they speak to them. A self-regulatory body, the [ PFRA] , exists to ensure that this happens and that all fundraisers conduct themselves in a manner acceptable to the charity.

Door to Door Fundraising

Door to door fundraisers call to people's houses to collect contributions for various charities. Usually this means a regular donation, but it can also be a one-off payment. Door to door fundraising is also a profitable method for the charities who use it, although it is not a popular as street fundraising, as it can prove more ineffective for long term donations.

Some door to door fundraisers work in teams. They will come to an area only once to approach as many homes as possible. Some charities and agencies are unable to make appointments to return, which may lead to a high pressure situation where a person may feel obliged into making a decision to support the charity. Other door to door fundraisers work alone. In this case they are likely to live locally and are able to make appointments to return to see a person who may be interested in supporting the charity. This gives people more time to think it over and research the charity, and they are far less likely to feel pressured.It is important to remember that many organisations take varying approaches to door to door fundraising. There is a vast difference between charity fundraising agencies and marketing companies. Fundraising agencies usually pay a flat rate to fundraisers, whereas marketing companies often work on a purely commission basis, meaning the fundraiser is under greater pressure to complete the donation leading to higher pressure tactics to being used.

Volunteer Fundraisers

Charities have always relied upon individuals to help raise money for them. These people use many methods, such as collecting cash in boxes or tins, sponsored tasks, organising events and collecting from the attendees, or visiting people at their homes and asking for a donation. Volunteers may contribute just a few hours as a one-off action or work regularly for a charity for many years. There are some great examples of dedicated individuals raising enormous sums for their favourite charity, just in their spare time. However, by nature this is an unreliable way for major charitable organisations to source their funds. If charities were forced to manage on spontaneous donations alone, many would have to scale down their operations considerably and some would not function at all.Fact|date=February 2008

Colloquial Terms

Paid street fundraisers are sometimes known as chuggers because occasionally fundraising is viewed as aggressive or invasive (a portmanteau of "charity" and "mugger"). It became popular as a way of referring to street fundraisers after several articles appeared in British newspapers which touched upon the negative image of the people doing the job. Similarly, a paid door to door fundraiser is sometimes called a churglar (contraction of "charity burglar").

Criticisms of Face To Face Fundraising

Frequent complaints about paid street fundraisers include the use of aggressive or deceitful tactics, lack of knowledge of the charity, refusal to listen to a person who doesn't want to stop, the use of sarcasm or other negative language intended to make a person feel guilty if they decline to stop. Sometimes the sheer frequency of fundraisers in a certain area will lead to frustration- a person asked on their way home from work frequently will be very unlikely to have a positive view of street fundraisers, nor the charity they represent, or be prepared to engage with them.

Opinion polls suggest high levels of public hostility towards street fundraisers, with as many as 80 per cent of those interviewed being against them [Source: Times Online [,,2-908640,00.html] ] . Under present UK law, street fundraising is legal as street fundraisers are not themselves soliciting cash donations, but rather standing orders or a Direct Debit.

The fundraisers may be employed directly by the charity as part of an 'in-house' team. They may also be employed by an agency working specifically in the area of fundraising. In this case, the company is usually paid a fee per person signed up. This fee can be around GBP 70 [Source: GBP 350 return on investment at 5:1 return, [] ] .

Street fundraising will continue while it remains legal and cost-effective. However, some people find street fundraisers intimidating and may feel pressured into signing up to regular giving agreements. It must be remembered that signing up under pressure is against fundraisers guidelines and the majority of fundraisers who operate with good ethics will not sign someone up if they openly articulate their will not to sign up. In the UK some local councils have set up "cold caller exclusion zones" (See [ Out In The Cold] ) to prevent doorstep fundraisers.

The Charities Act, 2007 will require all street fundraisers in the Republic of Ireland to acquire a permit from a Chief Superintendent of the Garda Síochána for cash and non-cash collections alike.

External links

* [ UK Public Fundraising Regulatory Association]
* [ UK Institute of Fundraising]
* [ Association of Fundraising Professionals (US)]
* [ Fundraising Institute Australia]
* [,,2-908640,00.html Times Online: " 'Charity muggers' face tough new curbs'"]
* [ "An anarchist look at the life of a charity mugger"]
* Liam Vaughan, "New Statesman", 11 October 2004, [ "When capitalism works for good"]
* [ Telegraph - "£800,000 'chuggers' charity debt"]
* [ - Confessions of a chugger £8-10 per hour]
* [ Dealing with chuggers - a guide]
* [ Out In The Cold]
* [ Can you spare 5 minutes for charity?]
* [ Could an entrepreneurial approach to fundraising work?]
* [ Dodge the chuggers on Community Channel's 'Chugger Chase' online game]

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