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70 per cent of sector staff surveyed find chugging 'appalling and damaging'

70 per cent of sector staff surveyed find chugging 'appalling and damaging'
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70 per cent of sector staff surveyed find chugging 'appalling and damaging'26

Fundraising | Vibeka Mair | 8 Mar 2013

A majority of charity sector staff have told the Directory of Social Change that chugging is “appalling and damaging”.

The Directory Social Change (DSC) anonymously quizzed around 300 charity staff members at all levels on face-to-face fundraising, asking them if it was “brilliant and effective”, “irritating but necessary”, or “appalling and damaging”.

Only 5 per cent said it was “brilliant and effective”, 25 per cent chose “irritating but necessary”, and a majority of 70 per cent said it was “appalling and damaging”.

The survey also generated around 100 written comments on face-to-face fundraising. Some respondents said that it gave fundraising a “bad name” and had a detrimental effect on the public’s perception of charities in general.

One respondent commented anonymously: “As a fundraising professional, I believe chugging to be counter-productive. All good, long-term fundraising is based upon building a strong relationship with donors. This is fundraising best practice as preached by the sector, and then we undermine this practice with chugging.

"We compound the problem by outsourcing to agencies who employ young students who have no affinity to - or real depth of knowledge - of the cause…  As a profession we need to have the confidence to take the long-term view, and not be seduced by short-term measures such as chugging.”

In contrast, among the 5 per cent who praised chugging, a respondent said: “If the 'chuggers' are well trained, positive ambassadors for your charity then they can be brilliant and effective… I recognise when they are excellent ambassadors for their charity and that sometimes prompts me to go online and give later in my own time. I applaud charities that invest in appropriate recruitment and training of their street fundraisers - it makes all the difference.”

Recently, Charity Commission chair William Shawcross told Public Administration Select Committee MPs that chugging was “a blight on the charity sector”.

  

L Walker
CEO
Bliss Services
20 Mar 2013

I personally feel that it is intrusive and total wrong, to have people knocking on door to get people to sign up to direct debits. Yes this is most large charities, yet if you take a good look locally most are not in local areas delivering. Some front line services do take this view on funding and work hard to raise funds to do hands on work. We struggle to get money for projects to help people, yet money to pay door knocks. Yes I two was told that I must be poor if I could not spare £8 a week. Stop this and street collectors, this is doing allot of damage to how the public see charities. Many people are struggling to cope yet be made to feel guilty for not signing up. People give time to volunteer. If you want to give it is easy, and this is not needed. Large charities get high amounts of funding and have excess mobney for this?

Ceri Edwards
Director of Policy and Communications
Institute of Fundraising
11 Mar 2013

As @ioftweets said on Friday, it must have been a slow news day. It is disappointing when a perfectly valid quick poll done by DSC ends up being used as yet another attack on an incredibly effective fundraising method. Shows why we all have a responsibility to use accurate and transparent data that speaks for itself.

Mike Hunt
14 Mar 2013
Response to [Ceri Edwards]

Yeh? Shame "accurate and transparent data" does not translate into "PFRA placing compliance data on its website" as it was asked to do so by Marie Curie after the disgraceful TAG scandal.

Doesn't matter if you're fed up with some moron trying to wave you down every other day as long as it makes money for the big charities who can afford to employ these jokers.

When one Mr Hughes-Hallett stated that "only the foolish under 40's fall for it" in a Select Committee that was the end for me and chugging. The IOF can pontificate about chugging all it likes - Hughes-Hallets disparaging remarks displayed an alarming contempt towards donors.

I give to local charities that do not use this appalling method of raising funds. Why is it appalling? Ask Hughes-Hallet.

Lot of Director posts on here which suggests that you're probably raking in £40k on average, well above average earnings. I certainly don't have a bulging pay packet but that doesn't stop you lot trying to make me cough up more money by stationing chuggers all over my home city on a regular basis.

Tell you what. Why don't you all conduct a survey on the public and get some real opinion for a change instead of bleating about "biased" news stories and tub-thumping how much money it raises (because if it raises money for *your* cause apparently that justifies the technique. You do know that if *your* cause gets the money you're bleeding a smaller, and possibly equally as worthy. charity dry don't you).

Just remember the Charities Act review called the chugger regulations a mess. Have you lot done anything since it was published? I doubt it. Looks to me like business as usual and you're all still patting yourselves on the back at how much money you raise and that you're not on the front page of the tabloids any more.

Good for you. Tell you what. If you want to raise money, why don't you all go to a nice big multinational company - that doesn't pay any tax - and then ask them to sponsor you.

If it takes the Daily Telegraph to expose the corruption at TAG fundraising and initiate an FRSB investigation then it's obvious that if anyone was breaking the law, or breaking the chugger rules, then none of you would have a clue.

Jesus Wept. Transparency in the world of chugging? Don't make me laugh.
Until the PFRA scrap their news column for something a little more balanced the regulator is nothing more than a glorified pro-chugging trade and lobbying organisation.

Oh, and just for the record, I do give a to charity. I just don't need some jerk in a bib waving their hand in my face to encourage me to do it.

Garry Wilkinson
Director of Fundraising & Marketing
Kirkwood Hospice
11 Mar 2013

Ahh, the old "chugging" chestnut! How many articles have we read over the years like this. Yet, still F2F continues - why? It works for charities, that's why! Even if you take into account that the best part of 12 months of donations will be paid to the recruiting company, it still proves effective for certain charities.

We don't do it at Kirkwood, but as a local charity we have excellent local profile and are able to cost effectively recruit and retain supporters in other ways. However, I see the value for less well established charities or national charities who could not ever afford to employ enough people to do this job for them country-wide.

I never give in this way. I support my Hospice! But, I have spoken to many a street fundraiser (rather than just "walking by") and I have to say I have never been abused in the street. I even had an interesting discussion with a street fundraiser who was signing up donors to CRUK and seemed genuinely interested in the work the Hospice was doing locally. Perhaps he was the exception and all the others harangue and abuse potential donors in the street - but I doubt it somehow.

Whether you agree or not with F2F is personal opinion. Even if you don't like it in theory, you have to admit that it clearly works, in practice (particularly when it is done well!)

Kath
9 Mar 2013

So refreshing to see a parade of the self important from the upper echelons of fundraising dismiss the actual views of real people so conclusively.

If only they took the time to stand in the street and observe the disgust which everyday people have when being hounded by an aggressive bib-wearer who is shouting at them down. If only they had had a spotty tean screaming, "you obviously don't care about human rights as much as I do" at them. If only their elderly relatives had been scared by people hounding and pressurising them on their own doorstep.

If only they knew the absolute contempt huge swathes of the public have been demonstrating towards *all* charities in recent months because of perceptions gained through contact with the gangs of in-yer-face money-grabbers from a tiny number of them.

You say people should just 'walk past' if they are not interested in being pressured?

How about the outraged representatives of Shooting Star CHASE, Scope, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Merlin, LSBU and EveryChild just not read these results and 'jog on' themselves.

Rarry Revan
Ranter
Rantingrules
11 Mar 2013
Response to [Kath]

Reading through the comments it seems like those "self important upper echelon" seem to be able to comment rationally, without excessive emotion. Once again, those who are challenged by face to face and do not like it have to resort to generalisation, exageration and being downright offensive to a group of people (face to face fundraisers) who I doubt they have ever had the time to stop and talk to as they were a human being.

"If only they knew the absolute contempt huge swathes of the public have been demonstrating towards *all* charities in recent months because of perceptions gained..." I'm sorry Kath, I didn't see the results of the survey that went to all 60 million people in the UK asking them to share their thoughts. Would you be kind enough to share them with us or could you not try to dress up your personal thought and feelings as being those of everyone else.

Kisses,

Rarry

Kath
12 Mar 2013
Response to [Rarry Revan]

I suppose I'll bite...

This result and survey is being dismissed as irrelevant and the people responding as unimportant for a variety of reasons that nobody has backed up with research or sources. In the course of doing so there's little acknowledgement that these are real people's views, even if you are not willing to accept the numbers.

While statistics may show how much money is brought in, these do not show the human impact, and whether others who were approached were switched off from a particular charity's brand because of a perception gleaned through that on-street presence.

While all of the 'senior fundraisers' here are happily touting their personal opinions and observances as facts, my personally observed experiences are dismissed as, "generalisation, exageration [sic] and being downright offensive to a group of people (face to face fundraisers) who I doubt they have ever had the time to stop and talk to as they were a human being". If any of those people had treated me like a human being". Is your statement that I have not treated others as human beings a fact? is your statement not resorting to emotion?

Furthermore, when I find the work of smaller charities that I work with - yes smaller charities do exist - being made difficult by observing public rage at the perceived wastefulness and greed of charities I am told this is my own opinion. While others' observances need no sourcing, you demand I produce a survey of the entire populous of the UK to justify what I have seen.

OK.

Even the fact that the pejorative term 'chugging' has been coined isn't enough to convince you that there are people that strongly dislike this form of fundraising.

So in summary, the people responding to the survey were not a representative selection, the people who think f2f on-street activities are intrusive are taking an 'ill-informed swipe', and the fact that an insulting term has been coined and widely adopted is just people being excessively judgmental.

Right.

Finally, the fact that you sign off your rant with 'kisses' reveals plenty. Would you have bothered doing this were I not a woman? Would you accuse a man of resorting to emotion? It seems that rather than wishing to engage in a debate, you are just using this forum as an outpouring for misogyny.

Rarry Revan
Ranter
Rantingrules
13 Mar 2013
Response to [Kath]

Dear Kath (trying to keep it formal here as I wouldn't want to offend),

The results of this survey are being challenged by fundraising professionals, rather than the views of the responders being dismissed. There is a difference. Researchers go to great lengths to ensure that the questions they ask do not add bias to the likely answers. Jay from the DSC has pointed out that this wasn't intended to be a representative sample, rather they were aiming "to stimulate interactive dialogue on issues of interest to people involved with the voluntary and community sector". The responders views are as valid as any fundraising professional, however neither are representative of a wider population.

The fact that street fundraising has been given the name Chugging does not give any indication of the scale of dislike of the type of fundraising. People have referred to direct mail as junk mail for decades. That hasn't led to it being banned or blammed for public loss of trust and confidence in charities, even thought it appears as the most complained about form of fundraising every year since the FRSB began to compile facts. Interestingly the "most trusted" charity brands are often reported and the large majority of those charities named are using or have used face to face fundraising.

And apologies for using Kisses as a sign off. It is either that or Big Hugs and I have used both when signing off to esteemed likes of Mr Alan Gosschalk in the past so please don't treat yourself as a special case.

With deepest respect,

Mr R Revan

Ian MacQuillin
Head of Communications
Public Fundraising Regulatory Association
13 Mar 2013
Response to [Kath]

Rarry signs off every comment he posts with 'kisses', irrespective of whether he is responding to a man or a woman. He always has done. Having read many of Rarry's other posts, and knowing his MO, I sincerely doubt the words he used here have been influenced in the slightest by your gender.

Alan Gosschalk
Fundraising Director
Scope
11 Mar 2013
Response to [Rarry Revan]

Rarry, for once you're talking sense!

Alan Gosschalk
Fundraising Director
Scope
9 Mar 2013

me again! i've heard that people were not 'anonymously quizzed' rather that people could vote on the DSC website - this is completely different! Please confirm whether this is the case - thank you

Vibeka Mair
11 Mar 2013
Response to [alan Gosschalk]

Hi Alan,

The DSC me told the questions on chugging were a poll on their newsletter where people give feedback anonymously. Cheers.

Alan Gosschalk
Fundraising Director
Scope
11 Mar 2013
Response to [Vibeka Mair]

Really sorry but in this case they have not 'quizzed around 300 charity staff members' - it's a self selecting group of people - I'm a great fan of civil society but the reporting of this leaves something to be desired

Jay Kennedy
Head of Policy
Directory of Social Change
11 Mar 2013
Response to [alan gosschalk]

Just to clarify the source of this story - DSC's e-newsletter survey gathers the views and opinions of DSC e-news readers who choose to participate. Its purpose is to stimulate interactive dialogue on issues of interest to people involved with the voluntary and community sector.

Survey results are not intended to be representative and do not constitute rigorous research. Participation in the survey is anonymous unless the participant chooses otherwise. Occasionally DSC may also use feedback received in the quick survey to inform policymakers about particular issues.

The surveys are vox pop not scientific polling which should be clear to anyone who reads the ts and cs above and the writeup itself.

You can read the original writeup of the survey here: http://bit.ly/ZzAth3

Rarry Revan
Ranter
Rantingrules
11 Mar 2013
Response to [Jay Kennedy]

Hmmm, not sure that the "Policy and Research" tab of the DSC web page is the most apt place for Vox Pops!

Maybe you could run a quick survey that asks:

"Are cash collections, often known as tin rattler: a) heroic volunteers who brave all weathers, b) nice people who raise bugger all money or c) potential thieves and terrorists who are probably immigrants with 10 children.

I'm sure I could think of some other survey ideas around other forms of fundraising or Stephen Bubb's existence if you want.

Big hugs,

Rarry

Andrew
8 Mar 2013

I agree with many of these comments. I am afraid the alternatives are limited and many of these irritate a lot of people as well. If we get less money in I am afraid we do less work with less staff. If that is what people want so be it but there will be a large cost to beneficiaries. I think it is also inappropriate for the Charity Commission to take a sound bite and unmeasured view on this matter - they should focus on doing their job better.

John Bines
Director of Fundraising
EveryChild
8 Mar 2013

Sorry, but this is shoddy journalism.

Where to start. How about this. You say that '70% of those surveyed' found street fundraising 'appalling and damaging'. The 'number surveyed' should be the number that received (or possibly opened) the email. What was that number please and what does that make the actual percentage of those surveyed who found it 'appalling and damaging'?

Peter Maple
Course Director MSc Management in Civil Society (Marketing and Fundraising)
LSBU
8 Mar 2013

This is another, sadly, all too typical ill informed swipe at street canvassing. The original survey participants were self-selecting and any researcher worth 2p knows that leads to a strong biais. Those most vexated are most likely to reply. That sort of survey is notoriously unrepresentative of any particular sector.

What is saddest however is the glee with which pundits jump on this sort of report to "prove" how unpopular the technique is. The reality, as others have commented, is very, very different. Canvassing, done well is not intrusive, need not cause a guilt trip and is a powerful fundraising method for recruiting younger givers who are then more likely to have a far longer giving pattern for charity.

Danielle Atkinson
Head of Digital & Individual Giving
Merlin
8 Mar 2013

Nice to see so many positive comments here about F2F.

It is actually very easy to judge street fundraising – you judge it on the results. Regular gifts from people that stop and take the time to talk are the lifeblood of many organisations. F2F should not be judged on how it makes some people feel. And naysayers will tend to be the people who respond to surveys like this.

Presenting this information as the 'majority of charity sector staff' and robust market research feels wrong to me. With fewer than 0.2% of charities having done face to face fundraising, I suspect these are people that don't do F2F. And have no intention of doing it. A shame. They're missing out on the chance to raise vital funds that can save and change lives.

The assumption that all people who start supporting because of a street fundraiser are 'bad' donors is insulting to those who give. In my experience our street donors are some of our most committed & engaged. How can having a conversation with someone, rather than reading a piece of paper or watching an advert for example, not be conducive to 'building a strong relationship'? Just because they started giving because they spoke to a fundraiser in a bib outside and not from someone wearing a suit in an office doesn’t make their donations any less worthwhile.

Former Face To Face Fundraiser
8 Mar 2013

If only the 95 per cent had met me whilst I was face to face fundraising! Also fascinated that it is charity sector staff themselves who are so appalled. Unfortunately I did find many charity sector workers would take a moral high ground and view f2f as a poor relation - inspite of the figures which show just how much it brings in. I'd go as far as to suggest 70 per cent of those who dismiss it as "appaling and damaging" don't donate to charity and feel they "already do their bit" by working in the sector.

Michael Naidu
Head of DM and Supporter Care
Cystic Fibrosis Trust
8 Mar 2013

I'm not that surprised by this. I thought that the DSC offered a lot of support to smaller, more locally focussed charities who don't have donor acquisition budgets and are more likely to use cash collections to generate income.

Under the current Charities Act, these organisations can only apply for one license to fundraise per year, whilst charities using face to face can visit a site as often as they or their agency can negotiate. Hopefully the new Public Collections Regime that the Institute are leading on will even out these perceived inequalities which may lead to a change in attitude to face to face fundraising.

Charity Fundraiser
8 Mar 2013

I'm struggling to see how this can be a representative survey of a charity sector that depends so heavily on and recognises the value of face-to-face fundraising. If it really were seen as 'damaging' by 70% of the sector, it would be dropped as a form of fundraising instantly.

In fact, it seems to me that what appears originally to be an e-news survey - hardly the most rigorously-controlled form of research, and indeed not presented as such in the original article - has been rather misleadingly conjured into a major issue here, like some kind of third sector equivalent of the Daily Express.

Furthermore, as alluded to by Alan above, I'm sure you'd get a similar response for DM or particular kinds of DRTV ads, if you asked the right questions.

I've worked in charity fundraising for ten years, and have barely met a handful of people in the sector who would describe face-to-face fundraising thus.

Not a great piece.

Vibeka Mair
8 Mar 2013
Response to [Charity fundraiser]

Hi,

Thanks for your comments. I wrote the story and thought I should respond to your concerns.

I agree that face-to-face fundraising is a valuable tool for charities and I imagine that most in the charity sector will always publicly defend it.

But perhaps because the survey was anonymous it meant people felt safe in being more open about their true opinions. Additionally the survey was of charity professionals, not just fundraising professionals, this may have played its part in the result. Finally not all charities use nor agree with face-to-face.

Alan Gosschalk
Fundraising Director
Scope
8 Mar 2013

With both my hats on ie that of a fundraiser and that as a director of a national charity, I'm really concerned by this 'story'.

The reality is that one has to ask in order to receive (charitable support) and people aren't that keen on any sort of fundraising where they are asked!

As a medium, F2F fundraising has transformed the lives of millions of beneficiaries over the last 2 decades. For many charities it's the main way that they are able to cost effectively recruit new regular givers.

It's very unclear who the staff surveyed are - I'd certainly hope that fundraisers, senior managers and comms staff would know the above. If people don't like being asked they can always walk on by. End of.

Jeremy
Director of Fundraising
Shooting Star CHASE
8 Mar 2013

Fascinating. It would be really interesting to know what function these 'quizzed' people (is that me or does that sound deliberately unscientific?) are from. If they were all fundraisers I would be genuinely shocked. As for the comment above that somehow sees F2F fundraising as undermining strong relationships - duh - the recruitment on the street is the introduction - it's up to you how you then build in that.Really hoping to see a robust response from the IoF on this one.

David Burrows
8 Mar 2013

Hmm.
Statistics often change depending on how you ask the question. I wonder if 70% of sector staff would agree with the statement, "It would be better if our charity stopped doing face to face fundraising, reduced our income, cut our services, and gave all staff a pay cut."

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