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Hawthornscat's Blog

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Out on the Streets

A couple of recent business trips to London reminded me of a method of charity fundraising that I had almost forgotten – teams of young fundraisers stopping individuals in the street and trying to get them to commit to regular monthly contributions. Some of the charities that I saw involved were the Samaritans, Voluntary Service Overseas, Amnesty International and Crisis, but I know it is a method that many charities employ. I would not say it is a method that really appeals (sorry about the pun) to me, but then I cross the road to avoid people with clipboards doing surveys. However, I imagine that it is one way of tapping into a proportion of the public that you might not attract through any other method.

I know that the (almost invariably) young people who are working for the charity are paid, although I have no idea how their remuneration operates. It seems like a pretty tough way of making some money, because you are demanding a significant level of commitment from those you are asking to sign up. It is a bit more than putting a few pounds into a tin, and most of us might want to think about it more carefully before saying we would donate a regular sum. Or perhaps that spur of the moment decision is really the way to do it. Do charities rely on people making impulse decisions and then becoming comfortable with the idea that there are making regular contributions?  

As for those employed by the charity, they obviously become the public face of that charity, which makes it very important that they present the right image to those that they meet. I assume that they are recruited by agencies who must have some kind of a vetting system. All-in-all it seems quite high risk for the charity, although the number of charities using it suggests that it must work. I haven’t been approached for some time now, so perhaps I do not fit the ‘profile’ – if you are using young people to do the approaches it is the young they are going to speak to? Perhaps then I am back to my earlier point – stopping individuals on the street reaches parts of the population that other fundraising methods might not.  

Comments

So great to see a balance and well thought out blog of this form of fundraising. So many people attack face to face fundraising without thinking through the logic and the benefits. We’re all humans after all and a simple ‘no thank you’ and a smile is all you need to carry on your way. Thats not a massive sacrafice to have to make to allow these guys to do their job and raise some serious money for the causes we care about.

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