Three years on the street fighting against chuggers (July 2017)
von Kevin Brutschin
Me five years ago
„First, sorry for my English. It is not my mother tongue. I am Swiss and I live in Switzerland.
I’ve worked for two non-profit-organizations for some time. But at some point I quit because I couldn’t stand it anymore that so many of them cooperate with fundraising-companies like „Corris“ in Switzerland or „DialogDirect“ in Austria. Those guys are at every corner now: DialogDirect (street fundraising) and the german firm „Wesser“ (door-to-door fundraising) expanded this system to all over the world and after that other agencies copied it. It’s a scandal. As less and less people are willing to donate, today, on average the full donation-fees of the first two to three years go to the agencies. The system is no longer worth, up to 95% of the donations are lost, it’s just ridiculous. And of course, most of the non-profit-organizations don’t admit this fact! What my solution would be? First, the organizations should hire and train their own staff to do the fundraising and on the other hand there should generally be less non-profit-organizations (and of course much less campaigns like that). I’ve been running this blog against the cooperation between charities and commercial fundraising agencies since a while now. What I do apart from running that blog and advocating for a change? That’s my main purpose in life – I’ve been living on the street for the last 3 years because of that. I want a full ban of this cooperation!
Without doubt, this cooperation is the worst of all the „modern“ fundraising methods in the charity sector.
Here – from human to human – a bond of trust between charity and donor is pretended. It is just pretended, because it simply doesn’t exist. Very often, the chugger (charity mugger) is not from the charity. He or she is, as I said, an employee of a commercial firm, whose goal is not the good cause, but making profit. That means, these firms are not satisfied with having their expenses covered and their fix salaries paid. In addition, they want profit – altough their activity is taking place in the NON-profit-sector (they use the good cause just as a „sales argument“). In the end, they are acting interested/selfishly. The problem: The idea of NON-profit, which is the ethical fundament of every charitable activity, means the opposite: It is not about me, it’s about the other; the one, who is in need. In short: These firms are making profit with non-profit, which is a complete contradiction. Now, of course, certain cooperations between non-profit-organizations (NPO) and profit-organizations are possible, like for example working with a printer: A printer just prints. In terms of content, printing is not a significant activity in the charity sector. Whereas here, it’s about the act of giving, which is prinicipally, like the charitable activity itself, DISINTERESTED or UNSELFISH. So, every donor feels a natural aversion, if the one, who is initiating the wish to donate, comes from an institution, that looks for profit. And now we are back at the beginning: To avoid this aversion, the chugger HAS to pretend to be a charity worker (or even a charity volunteer) – which is dishonest, of course. In other words: This system doesn’t work AT ALL. In the long run, the involved charities are loosing all credibility – FOR SURE. It is literally SUICIDAL for them. And: WE ARE ALREADY IN THE LONG RUN!!!“
And here is my new list of important articles from English-speaking countries about chuggers:
Australia, 22 October 2016: The Sidney Morning Herald: Former chuggers join class action against Appco alleging underpayment of wages (class action against biggest chugging firm in the world)
New Zealand, 30 May 2016: New Zealand Herold: Chuggers legislation to be withdrawn (legislation that would make people collecting donations, signatures or other support disclose whether they are being paid will be withdrawn – despite cross-party support)
Ireland, 18 October 2015: Irish Mail on Sunday: Charity mugger’s dirty tricks (undercover story)
United States of America, 22 July 2009: KBKW: Washington attorney general dings DialogueDirect for deceptive donation tactics (american state enforces rules for anyone who wants to raise money for charity)
Canada, 15 July 2007: The Toronto Star: Charities admit fundraising mess (two prominent Canadian charities – admit to using the discredited fundraising technique)
United Kingdom, 5 July 2002: BBC: Confessions of a street fundraiser (expression „chugger“ circulates right after creation by Keith Barker-Main, columnist at London’s free magazine „Metro“)
Greetz from Switzerland