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."


More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    A decent society with a social conscience should not need charities in the first place, but sadly even those societies do have them.

    But chugging should be banned as superfluous: a multitude of charity shops, on-line access, and never-ending begging letters should suffice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    I especially dislike the way they jump in front of you with the "Hi how are you?" line or "hello big fella" or a reference to whatever football shirt you have on.

    How about we all buy a special T-Shirt with CHUGG OFF on the front and all money is split between important charities with no fees to the snakes that slither the streets annoying people?

    Get a proper job you pointless morons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    They are a nightmare, I just walk through them...get out of my way or I'll knock you over is my stance. It seems there's no right to privacy or peace and quiet any more, just a constant sell sell sell, pester pester pester. Be it PPI, Ambulance chasers, Chuggers, idiots wanting to jetwash the drive for £400, they all think they have a right to disturb people.

    Fight back, be rude aggressive!

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    On a recent train journey to Cornwal was a loud young man, constantly on his mobile organising his team of chuggers (better to be called MUGGERS), his agressive manner and the pressure he was putting on his team would have shamed a straight forward street robber or dope peddlar.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    The most satisfying way of dealing with them I have found is to make and maintain eye contact with them, hovering about a bit as they talk, linger a while - but then slowly walk away with once ever talking.

    Looking on them pitifully.

    After a few weeks they do not bother me.

    I still look upon them pitifully though...

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    I do believe in charity but I have noticed a few things about them which are fast putting me off.

    More and more charities seem to be taking a business attitude and with it comes those business (non) ethics and (non) morals.

    Prices in charity shops are so high that they exclude the very people they are purporting to help.

    Charity and Business do not mix and should be kept separate at all times

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    They are pests and spoil life for alot fo people, every time you go to town you are pested at least 3 or 4 times, they are actually worse than the drug users asking you for 30p.

    Should be banned, if people want to give they will go out their way n give, plenty of charity shops aswell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Its not just chuggers but all professional fundraisers. We were told to look at a professional but the daily rates were ridiculous -we refuse to accept money from people that just goes to pay those fees.
    Also have a look at some of the online conferences of some of these fundraising institutes - hot air and money wasted. they even do research on working out what % costs the public will tolerate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    35. firemensaction
    "If you are enraged about chuggers look up Help For Heroes and donate to them instead, or the British Legion!
    You then KNOW it is for a good cause."

    Ummm.... they also have their knockers..

    Lets not get into the "this charity is better than that charity" slanging match. Most charities work for the betterment of society

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I have given up hours time to do charity work for my scout groups over the last decade. We often stand out in the rain in our uniforms proudly selling cakes/christmas trees/raffle tickets for no commision.

    I would really love for chugging to be banned so that people like the Scouts, the Coventry Cats Group or the Bristish Legion can benefit from 100% of the money the generous public give.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    If you are enraged about chuggers look up Help For Heroes and donate to them instead, or the British Legion!
    You then KNOW it is for a good cause.
    Charities employing chuggers will lose out!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    There are people behind the chuggers who have become multi-millionaires as they take their cut from every donation. If people realised how much of the money they pay over is syphoned off firstly by the professional chuggers and then by their pimps and that only a small proportion then goes to the charity perhaps they might just give directly to those charities they choose to support.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I remember once seeing two war veterans, with their medals, in wheel chairs, outside the local Tesco, collecting for British Legion. People were donating proudly. Definitely not Chuggers IMO, but will this law also apply to them?

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    For goodness sake RULES about how to charity collect to protect shoppers?
    How about some rules to prevent local or national government from raising stupid rules to further undermine citizens` rights to choose?
    Anyone at BBC remember FREEDOM??
    When what you CHOSE to do did not become banned under a disapproved category.
    How about a rule to make the PM leave HIS posh council accom for a smaller one?

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Should you be allowed out in public if you can't say no to a chugger?

    I really don't think so!

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Madness. The sensible solution would be to fine the chugger, not the charity.
    Oh hang on, the fines will finance the PFRA. Might as well donate direct to PFRA, and save all the hassle.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Not all street fundraisers are chuggers!

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    I was not aware of anyone being paid for getting people to sign up for charity contributions. This needs to be evident so that the voluntary donor can see it. I understood them to be volunteer fundraisers!! I am not happy about this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Get them off the high streets altogether , they are an utter nuisance and most people are sick up to the back teeth with them!


Page 1 of 3


More Business stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.