UPDATE: Chuggers: Helping the Cause or Stealing Your Money?

Two weeks ago I posted a survey to see how people felt about chuggers or street charity workers and those who answered had a lot of interesting things to say.

Of those polled, the majority said they do donate to charitable causes with sixty percent of those people saying they give $1-50 each year.

Given to charitable causes graph

The defense against using the street charity worker is that they are consistently signing people up to be long term donors, but out of those people who responded, only one person said they had given their donation through a chugger. This person donated only $10, one time. Dialogue Direct, the Austrian company who started face-to-face fundraising and works with charities like Children’s International, says on their website, “We do not accept cash or one-time donations; our goal is to register long-term donors through a sponsorship.”

What I wanted to know the most was how the average person felt about these street charity workers since it seems like the majority of the websites out there are negative and sometimes a little hostile.

The opinions of those polled differed, but the majority of people found the workers to be an annoying part of their day. A 26-year-old teacher/writer who responded said, “No one plans their day to have fifteen or more extra minutes to talk to someone on the street — it’s bad enough when subways don’t show up when you expect them to.”

Another person admitted they found them so annoying that they would be tempted to donate to another charity just to spite them

“I believe they do more a disservice as they mostly turn people off to even hearing the charity’s name,” a 25-year-old Union Rep. said. But she did admit that “the charities themselves must see some value in it especially if the overhead is so costly.”

A 23-year-old teacher thought we should be trying to figure out better ways to get people donating.

“I believe a more useful way for charities to sell people on donating is to find celebrity sponsors. It’s like being nominated for president, you need lobbyists to provide money for your cause and also to get the word out about it. I want to know how many donations are made when a charity is named after an athlete or entertainer in comparison to the results of these chuggers.”

With the a report from last year talking about the effects of the recession on charities, it is clear that trying to find new ways to get people donating is a good thing.

Are chuggers the way? It seems many would say no, but finding a better way to donate is a conversation worth having.

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