I have done cold calling for a spell but I haven’t been a street fundraiser or chugger as they are referred to these days (charity mugger or hugger – which ever you prefer!) However I have been on the receiving end enough times to consider how I might be more inclined to stop.
It is not that I (and many passersby) don’t care, albeit being a highly de-sensitised society in general. I think it is more often due to the rehearsed nature of what ensues and that overwhelming sense of being caught in a web of strategies geared towards easing money from your pocket.
Being spieled at is off-putting. It feels contrived and anonymous, and with anything these days people want individual bespoke attention. Perhaps it is better not to prep fundraisers too much on the amount of facts to stuff in people’s ears or engaging ways to reach out, allowing for some natural flow of conversation where the fundraiser responds to people and listens to their questions rather than reeling off the charity line. The fundraiser needs to offer more options to suit any kind of time constraints or inquiry and less tools to trap you in conversation. A flyer with info on how to donate via text, so people can sign up to a monthly donation via a series of text instructions when they are on the bus/train later with time to consider it properly.
I think the one-off texts to donate are a really good idea – non-committal and conveniently fast to do. However the follow-up calls to applaud your generosity, pandering to your willingness to give, might make me think twice about doing it again. Being persistently told how generous I was after giving £2 to Oxfam seemed a bit over the top. Of course this only led to being asked to sign up to giving a monthly donation. After saying no once, you should not then be asked to sign up to a smaller donation each month unless the person asks if this is possible. It is hard enough saying no once but then to have to persistently explain why you can’t cough up, makes you more likely not to bother being troubled again next time.
I can’t imagine there are many people who enjoy walking past street fundraisers, sometimes outrightly ignoring their pleas and yet we all have to do it. There must be a more effective way of fundraising in this hyper-digitalised age. More and more people are able to select online where they would like to donate, in their own time, that relate to their own experiences and passions. Surely this way of donating needs to be encouraged rather than spending money on chasing and convincing people to give.