There is a serious amount of chugger bashing going on at the minute. I have never seen or heard such negative sentiment around this form of fundraising. I have never worked for a charity that had chuggers, so I have no strong ‘pro’ chugger agenda. I do however know lots of charities that do use them, both in house and contracted, and I know the value they provide to the organisations (financially).
What frustrates me about the whole “debate” is that its not a real debate with any proper understanding of this revenue stream.
What happens instead is people make comments when they haven’t taken the time to research the issue. So for example we see comments like these from Senator Catherine Noone (clearly seeking column inches), where she says that Chuggers have:
“started to turn charity from an act of giving into an industry, with volunteers being replaced by people who are paid per hour”.
What planet is the Senator on!? Charity is an industry. Charity is a business. She clearly hasn’t taken the time to talk to anyone in the sector…but sure why should she, she is
“…. somebody who gives a decent amount every year to charity”.
Similarly this morning Ian Dempsey on TodayFM said that
“charities need to find another way to raise the money”.
Again, an off the cuff remark made by someone who hasnt taken the time to understand how charities work. If he is going to use his airtime you would really like him to at least be informed (or take the time to be informed).
I am not saying there are no issues with Chuggers. I am not saying it is the greatest way to fundraise. Like I said I have never worked for an organisation that uses them (maybe that says something, I dont know). But the mis-information that is being bandied about by people is frustrating. This revenue stream works for charities. That’s why they do it. Next people will say they are fed up with Direct Mail, because charities are spending money on postage!
If there is going to be a debate about chuggers, firstly there needs to be a better understanding of the business of charity. There also needs to be an understanding that there is a code of practice that all charities sign up to (Senator, maybe you should have checked that one out!?). Also people have choices. Every day I walk past a chugger, and I can see them trying to make eye contact, I just say no thanks and walk on. It doesnt really ruin my day!
NOTE: I have asked two people, one from either side of the debate to do guest posts on this blog….hopefully they agree. I will keep you posted