Charity fundraisers subject to new rules

Charity fundraisers (generic) Chuggers are not allowed to stand within 3m of a cash machine or shop doorway

Charities now face fines of at least £1,000 if their street fundraisers breach rules designed to protect members of the public.

The restrictions mean that fundraisers, typically referred to as "chuggers", cannot follow a person for more than three steps.

The introduction of the scheme follows a year-long trial.

Chuggers have been criticised for hassling people to set up direct debits, but others say they are vital.

Start Quote

I have also been chased down the street a couple of times by persistent chuggers when I said I wasn't interested, which made me feel unbelievably uncomfortable and embarrassed”

End Quote Katy Dickinson, Nottingham

The new regime, to be enforced across the UK by the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), also means street fundraisers must not:

• stand within 3m of a shop doorway, cash machines, pedestrian crossing or station entrance

• sign up anyone to a direct debit who, due to illness, disability, drugs or drink, is unable to give informed consent

• approach members of the public who are working, such as tour guides or newspaper vendors

Breaches of the rules carry penalty points of up to 100 points for the fundraising organisation.

Each charity has a threshold of 1,000 points before having to pay fines. Once this threshold is breached, charities must pay a monetary fine equal to £1 per point, with all further breaches all carrying a £1 per point fine.

At the end of the financial year, the charity's point balance is reset to zero.

All the money raised through the fines system will be used to improve compliance checks, in what the PFRA says creates a "virtuous circle".

"The more people that break the rules, the more money we have for providing compliance officers to check street fundraisers are complying with the new regime," said Ian MacQuillin, PFRA head of communications.

PFRA will monitor compliance with the new roles via spot checks, as well as so-called mystery shoppers who pretend to be a member of the public and then report back.


Start Quote

True philanthropy is not gained by the quick-fix tactics of waylaying passers-by”

End Quote Marjorie Wallace SANE

Members of the public who believe the rules have been breached should complain directly to the charity in the first instance, says the PFRA.

If they feel the charity's response is unsatisfactory, the PFRA says they should then escalate their complaint by reporting it to the independent regulatory body, the Fundraising Standards Board.

"For a form of fundraising that is so regularly in the limelight, it is vitally important that fundraisers work to the highest possible standards in order to maintain the confidence of the public, media, and central and local government," says Sally de la Bedoyere, chief executive of the PFRA.

Marjorie Wallace, the chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, which has never used street fundraisers, welcomed the rules.

However, Ms Wallace also criticised charities who use firms that employ street fundraisers, arguing they symbolised "all that is wrong in the commercialisation of charity".

"True philanthropy is not gained by the quick-fix tactics of waylaying passers-by, but by establishing relationships with donors who know precisely what happens to their gifts and who feel a connection to the cause," added Ms Wallace.

But one small charity, the Coventy Cats Group, which relies on street collections, told BBC News that it was concerned that the new rules and spot checks may make fundraising more complex.

Trustee Angie Willems also said she was worried about the impact of not being able to stand within three metres of shop doorways.

"We never harass people to donate, but we do often need to stand somewhere that can provide some warmth or protection from the elements."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Don`t sign up to any charity, until you know how much is spent on the eponymous " management fee " much in the pound actually goes to the supposed beneficaries, rather than fund extravagent lifestyles..

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    I had noticed that chuggers have toned down their approach of late .

    I thought it was me looking less affluent but It might just have been preperation for these new rules.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    I don't understand why it isn't banned altogether.

    At best it's aggressive begging, at worst it's demanding money with menaces.

    99% of people are utterly sick of it and would like to see it stopped for good.

    In the 21st century there is no place for this sort of behaviour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Everyone should read this article from August 2010 before signing with a chugger to understand exactly what is going to happen to their money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Please don't allow these people to stop you donating to charities. A lot of us are struggling at the moment and demand has never been so high for our work. Especially us small volunteer groups who need this income
    As we need permits from the towns for street collections, surely councils should be able to control this problem. We had to send all sorts of documents off before getting permission.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    The issue that I see with this is that a lot of the “Chuggers” are employees of companies that have been employed by Charities, so who is going to get the fine?

    The Company or the Charity that has employed it.

    Also reported in the media a few years back that in a lot of cases the charity sees little if any of the money because of the fee per signing and most people cancel within a year.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    This is a great idea. There was a man sitting outside our shop who fundraised for sick children. An old customer informed us that he was very mean to women and children. Also, his charity number was invalid. He was rude when he came shopping and he looked very drunk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    How insane and contorted a society to which we live.

    In essence, a new rule has been passed to protect the very people who donate money to good and needy causes. Our donated money will be used to employ staff that regulate street fund raisers. I wonder who's Quango pockets this is going to line

    I have a more cost effective idea? Why not just ban street solicitation full stop!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    They are annoying but I find that they don't approach you if you don't make eye contact - that's very important as it does work.
    Otherwise a curt NO THANKS does the trick.
    And if you give them your bank details then you are a complete fool.
    They are just another example of rip off Britain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Avoid the chuggers - walk quickly past them and they'll have to take more steps!
    More seriously, give to those charities you want to directly. Don't get chugged. Chuggers earn a significant amount from you signing up before the charity they're representing (not working for) see any of the money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Chuggers have targets to hit just like any other salesmen and sometimes really don't seem too keen to take no for an answer. I've been followed down the street on more than one occasion. To get rid of them it's easier to sign up then cancel the direct debit, but this actually looses the charity money as they still have to pay the chugger who has technically been successful in signing someone up.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    How about legislation for the kids who pack your bags badly at Supermarkets?

    At the very least a notice outside the store so you can go elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    What with charity muggers, hugger muggers, pick pockets, beggars and traffic wardens, it’s no wonder internet shopping is so popular.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    I don't understand why anyone is willing to give their bank details to a complete stranger in the street. Whenever I'm accosted in the street, or by a door-to-door collector, I tell them the same thing - I won't give my bank details to a stranger and if I want to support a charity I'll give them a meaningful donation rather than the "so small I won't notice" donation they seem to be after.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    It's the age of the internet. If I WANT to donate money to charity I can easily research the options and make a commitment from home, from work or on my phone. These people aren't providing information or opportunity to contribute. They're simply pressuring people into supporting something they don't care about.
    It should be banned entirely!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    I refuse to give to any Charity who accosts me in the street or Super market. Supermarkets had a tendency to allow children from schools to fill your bags and expect a gift for doing it. Thankfully in Wales this has stopped because of having to pay for plastic bags. If I want to give, I will give to the Charities I decide upon. Not those who try to coerce me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    About time too. These "chuggers" are professional people out to make a profit first, then they'll donate "some" of the money to the charity they claim to support.
    If I want to support a charity, I'll donate to them directly, that way they can use all the money I send them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Atleast some people are trying to work other than other benefit scroungers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The restrictions mean that fundraisers, typically referred to as "chuggers", cannot follow a person for more than three steps.....

    ...... A big opening here for Basketball referees then !!

    Make it complicated, why not. They should be banned altogether. My father is 91, they gave him such a rough time on the High St it took him a week to get over it & they were still phoning at 9.00pm

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Who is supposedly going to police chuggers to ensure they do not follow someone for more than 3 steps or stand within 3 metres of a cashpoint - sheer folly and much more important things to address.
    Can you imagine somebody saying ''Oi you followed me for 4 steps so I'm going to have you arrested'' and then try and prove it - total nonsense as usual.


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