Forget 'chuggers' and nuisance calls…we want charities to send emails to encourage us to give


Forget ‘chuggers’ and nuisance calls…we want charities to send emails to encourage us to give

  • New survey revealed 8 out of 10 prefer to be contacted by charities via email 
  • High street ‘chuggers’, nuisance calls and mailshots far less popular 

High street ‘chuggers’, nuisance calls and relentless mailshots are people’s least favourite ways of engaging with charities, according to a new report.

More than eight in ten people polled by social enterprise Give As You Live Online say email is their preferred method of contact by charities over any other, including social media.

A majority of 71 per cent are irritated by ‘chuggers’ – shorthand for ‘charity muggers’ – the paid fundraisers whose job is to persuade shoppers to sign up to making monthly donations.  They should not be confused with collection-box-rattling volunteers. 

Preferred option: More than eight in ten people polled by social enterprise Give As You Live Online say email is their preferred method of contact by charities

Preferred option: More than eight in ten people polled by social enterprise Give As You Live Online say email is their preferred method of contact by charities

The findings will be of little surprise to many people who have run the gauntlet of chuggers while out shopping. Six in ten say this type of fundraising sends a ‘negative, desperate signal’, making them feel uncomfortable.

Instead, people are looking for convenience when they donate to good causes. 

This has been helped by the growth of fundraising platforms such as JustGiving and Virgin Money Giving, as well as donating via text message with deductions taken via phone bills. 

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But another trend to emerge is charitable cashback shopping websites. Standard cashback websites pay rebates to online shoppers for a wide range of purchases from well-known brands – anything from clothes to signing up to a new broadband provider. Cashback earnings can be impressive, reaching hundreds of pounds a year.

With charitable versions of such websites – easyfundraising and TheGivingMachine – rebates are sent directly to the charity rather than a shopper’s back pocket.

Website TopCashback, where money typically goes to customers, also has an option that allows customers to donate its rewards directly to charities.

Give As You Live Online has raised more than £10million this way for 200,000 charities in the last decade. 

Options: With charitable versions of such websites ¿ easyfundraising and TheGivingMachine ¿ rebates are sent directly to the charity rather than a shopper¿s back pocket

Options: With charitable versions of such websites – easyfundraising and TheGivingMachine – rebates are sent directly to the charity rather than a shopper’s back pocket

Director Annabelle Risdon says: ‘Our research indicates that in-your-face chugging, intrusive telephone calls and physical post is now considered “social spam” to the degree that it can harm the reputation and fundraising potential of the charities involved.

‘We’ve seen a desire to fundraise with the least amount of fuss, fanfare or public recognition.’ 

Another convenient way to give is via ‘payroll giving’. This allows employees to donate directly from wages each month, even low sums, before tax is deducted. Employers need to be signed up to a scheme to take part, but there has been an increase in uptake this year.

Individuals keen to give this way should ask their payroll or human resources departments whether the company is signed up, or is considering such a move.

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More information at gov.uk/payroll-giving.



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