Street fundraising is an effective way for charities to secure regular monthly gifts for their work. The method is not well received at times, with street fundraisers often being referred to as “chuggers” (charity muggers). However, in the vast majority of cases, street fundraisers do a great job and raise much needed income for the UK’s charities.
Often in the media and public spotlight, only 4% of our members use this method of fundraising and street fundraising complaints actually fell by 25% in 2012.
Find out more about street fundraising and your rights.
Donating safely on the street
Some people have concerns about being stopped on the street but charities do find it an effective way of getting people to commit to ongoing donations through Direct Debit. Here’s our advice on how to give safely:
Check the fundraiser’s ID badge
Genuine fundraisers should be wearing a proper ID badge. It should be properly printed, not photocopied or hand-written.
If in doubt, ask the collector for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.
Make sure the right information is included in the materials
Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.
If you want to check the details, you can look up UK registered charities on the Charity Commission’s website. For Scottish charities, check out the OSCR and visit the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland for charities based there.
Look for the FRSB tick
If you see the FRSB tick, you know the charity is a member of the FRSB scheme. This means they have signed up to follow the highest standards in fundraising and are regulated. See which charities are members.
Know what fundraisers are allowed to do
The code of practice says that collectors ought not to pressurise the public to give their support, but they can use reasonable persuasion. However, they should not approach individuals that may reasonably be considered to be vulnerable adults.
If you tell them you’re not interested, the fundraiser should politely stop their approach.
Explaining the cost of the campaign
If you agree to make a donation, the fundraiser is required by law to tell you how much the company they work for will be paid and how this was worked out. You can either be told or it can be provided in writing before you sign any direct debit agreement.
The only exception is when staff work at the charity. In that case they have to tell you they are being paid, but do not have to give an amount.
Keep your personal information safe
If you do decide to support the charity by setting up a Direct Debit, you will only need to give your bank account number and sort code. Never share card numbers, PINs or security codes.
What to do if you have concerns
If you’re unhappy about the behaviour of the fundraiser or the information they give out, contact the charity. The fundraiser should be able to provide the information.
If you still have concerns after contacting the charity, you can come to the Fundraising Standards Board. Call us on 0333 321 8803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also make a complaint.
Next page: Door-to-door fundraising