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Last Updated: Monday, 13 October, 2003, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Your comments
Thank you for sending us your comments on face-to-face street fundraising.

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received.

I know from personal experience how hard it is to get volunteers to help charities
Lou

The street fundraisers that have represented the charity I work for, passionately believe in the job that they are doing. They gain a great sense of achievement from raising funds for the causes they work for and many decide to support the charity themselves. If you do not wish to support a particular charity, a polite 'no thank you' is all it takes. The income raised has benefited hundreds of causes, and often from younger people, who may never have donated to the charity before. Street fundraising is a way of speaking to new supporters and existing ones, raising awareness and much needed funds.
Sharon New

I am proud to have worked for charities both as a direct employee and as part of an agency supplying fundraising services. In both capacities I have helped raised hundreds of thousands of pounds (millions even) for good causes. Why should fundraisers who work hard on the street/door be treated with contempt compared to fundraisers who work within a charity? Both are working to raise money and both get paid. I know from personal experience how hard it is to get volunteers to help charities. Those who do volunteer are wonderful but unfortunately any fundraising has a cost, even a volunteer. We should take pride in asking for money and also be proud that so many people give. And if you do not want to give in a certain way, please say no.
Lou

690,000 people signed up to charities on the street and door-to-door last year. All of this money goes directly to the charity, who then pay the fundraising agencies for undertaking this work. It costs on average 90 per donor who will then go on to donate on average 350 to the charity over five years. This makes face-to-face fundraising one of the most cost effective means of raising funds.
Susan Brumpton, Public Fundraising Regulatory Association

Charities would not be doing this kind of fundraising if it did not raise money for them
Ben

As a charity fundraiser, I know there is always a cost attached to attracting new supporters. But someone who has decided to support on the basis of an informative conversation with a fundraiser - paid or unpaid - is more likely to have made a balanced and informed decision than someone who responds to a 'shock horror' advert or mail drop, and is more likely to stay and support long term. That is why this sort of fundraising represents such good value to the charities.
Andrew Scadding

I work in an area where street fundraisers are present most days, and cannot see what all the fuss is about. I find that a polite shake of the head and a simple 'no' does the job. I think everyone should be given a bit of courtesy, and this includes people doing what must be a pretty hard and often thankless job. Charities would not be doing this kind of fundraising if it did not raise money for them, so presumably a lot of people would be losing out if they were not.
Ben

Without street fundraising we would find it very difficult to recruit committed giving
Jane Frame, Charity worker

In door to door work, complaints are tiny in relation to the number of doors knocked on, and people who freely give. Much less than other commercial operations that work directly with the public. This is because on the whole it has public respect. Charity work is very costly and without face-to-face fundraising the charity landscape could be changed significantly. Worth thinking about before locking into your personal exasperation with fundraisers.
Richard Clayton

Some of these complaints are very misplaced and ill-informed. There is no street anywhere in London where face-to-face fundraising is conducted every day. In fact, our professional association limits activity to a maximum of three times per week, and the average is two. And despite claims to the contrary this activity is gift-aidable. Charity fundraising just challenges you to examine your own mean-spiritedness.
Mick Aldridge
Our area depends upon visitors and this daylight high pressure selling causes distress and inconvenience to our guests
Ron Brotherhood

I have the utmost respect for street fundraisers, whether charity volunteers or from professional fundraising companies. Standing on streets in our weather for hours at a time is a thankless task. Moreover, as a donor, I am under no illusions about how much it costs charities to raise awareness. Think how much charity money is paid to advertising agencies, TV companies, and the Royal Mail for their services. Street fundraising is a very cost effective way for them to find younger supporters. It may not appeal to all, but it works.
Paula Cressey

Professional charity collectors drive me nuts. I work in Marylebone, which is an affluent area of London and a potential goldmine for this type of business. Every day I fend off the advances of clipboard-wielding, enthusiastic 20-somethings, who come bouncing up to me asking for money, and this happens about four times a day, five days a week. This gets quite annoying. What these collectors fail to understand is market saturation. I am now less likely to give charities any money if they blow it all on these irritating street performers. A rather cynical ploy to entice potential supporters.
Robin McMorran

I work for a local council and as a tourist resort our area is besieged by young students trying to get people to sign up direct debits, sometimes for as much as 15 a month, for what appear to be good causes. We receive complaints about the way these people force themselves onto gullible elderly people. Our area depends upon visitors and this daylight high pressure selling causes distress and inconvenience to our guests. Some say they are so fed up that future trips here may be cancelled. Thank you for highlighting this problem.
Ron Brotherhood

These people are a real nuisance, especially when you have limited time during your lunch break. Now I know the truth behind this I am going to ask the local authority to restrict their activities.
Bill Reed

These complaints are typical of the narrow-mindedness of the developed world, not wanting to give others a chance.
Kim Sklinar

I have just read the article and am amazed that charity street sellers have to identify that they are paid, and do not work for the charity. I have listened to the pitch several times, sometimes after being told that they are doing research before being offered the direct debit form. Never in 20 years of seeing these people have I ever heard one say that they are being paid and not doing the work for charity for free.
William Taylor

I used to do work like this, and found it very difficult having to deal with the inconsiderate British nation not wanting their daily business interrupted. I support the charity I represented, of which 84% of the donations went straight to the charity, where it was needed. In fact the charity has won awards for the clarity of its accounts. These complaints are typical of the narrow-mindedness of the developed world, not wanting to give others a chance.
Kim Sklinar

If the fundraisers make you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself why that is, alternatively, just practise saying no
Owen Watkins

I never give to street collectors as it is not tax efficient. By giving directly, the charity can claim a Gift Aid top up, and I can claim Gift Aid tax relief.
Paul Hill

Why are we so patronising towards charities in this country? Taking the report at face value, this is a way for charities to raise a significant amount of money. If you were offered a savings account that paid 500% interest over five years would you take it? Charities are doing very valuable work in our communities, and across the world. They are by and large very good at raising money. If the fundraisers make you feel uncomfortable, ask yourself why that is. Alternatively, just practise saying no.
Owen Watkins

When I go to the local high street, I am approached by collectors asking for bank details. As I am a student, I usually tell them straight away that I have no regular income, so do not wish to set up a standing order. Often they persist, even using guilt tactics. I do support many of the charities and causes, but I do not like the way that they are being turned into companies, and are using such tactics.
Louise

I am fed up of walking down our local high road and having to run the gauntlet of these canvassers on a daily basis
Andrew Kleissner, West London

Tottenham Court Road in central London has two Sainsbury's and a Marks & Spencer's. The people living and working here have to buy food, and every time any of us venture out we run a gauntlet of charity street collectors. And the numbers are increasing. It makes it unpleasant to walk down the street. We often have to face them several times a day. Can nothing be done to limit the numbers of these collectors who crowd the pavements of our streets?
Mrs R A Jones

Why the hard sell? I do not like the way this is going, as it seems aggressive, and is unlikely to endear the sellers to the generous public.
Lesley Jarvis, Northamptonshire

Charities are alienating a lot of potential donors by using this technique
Henry Collingridge

I am not prepared to give my bank details to strangers, either in the street, or at the door. It strikes me that one is placing a great deal of trust in the recipient not to divulge them to anyone else. And are the completed forms held in secure conditions until they arrive at head office? Another concern is that only the larger, high-profile charities can indulge in this kind of marketing, thus leaving smaller, lesser-known ones to languish and possibly collapse. I am fed up of walking down our local high road and having to run the gauntlet of these canvassers on a daily basis.
Andrew Kleissner, West London

I have been approached many times by such organisations masquerading as charity workers, and very much disagree with this practice. It does a disservice to all committed charity volunteers. I make it a practice to write to the charity concerned to inform them that I will not be giving any further money to them in any form until they have stopped the practice. I believe charities will modify their practices if they hear such a message loud and clear from potential donors.
Torsten Thiele

Is it not time we had a major review of charitable giving?
Elizabeth Harrington

In the London street where I work, there is without fail a team of charity canvassers every day. The name of the charity and the individual collectors change daily, so it is people like me who are the only constant, and we get accosted two or three times a day. I am fully in favour of charities, and support a number of them myself, but they are alienating a lot of potential donors by using this technique. If these people were asking for money for their own pockets and not for charity they would be considered aggressive beggars and the police would remove them in no time.
Henry Collingridge

Whilst the high street agents are irritating, I have greater resentment at forcible donation in another's name, such as '10% of your spending will go to x charity', or supermarkets getting a pat on the back for donations to telethons which come out of my and fellow shoppers' pockets. Also, no sooner does a tragedy hit the headlines, there is a fund set up for research or prevention, and it is likely that often initial work is concentrated on undertaking admin and research that has already been done. My deepest concern, however, is where charities are starting to step in to fill shortfalls in government funding, principally in hospital equipment and schools. If a dialysis machine or text books are required, there should be adequate funding from the real source, not 'out of the goodness of charitable hearts'. Is it not time we had a major review of charitable giving?
Elizabeth Harrington

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received.

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Cost of charity street collecting
18 Oct 03  |  Moneybox


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