What's less rewarding than stopping strangers in the street to ask for their bank details? Charity street fundraising is a thankless task. Be more popular than a 'chugger' with these 4 tips.
Excuse me, do you have a minute?
'Are you looking for a job that you can enjoy? A job that will help you develop skills like communication, confidence and creative thinking? Most importantly a job that can guarantee you will never be bored?'
Yes. Yes. YES. Alas, what this job advert should actually say is this:
'Are you looking for a job that's universally detested? A job that will help you develop skills in harassment, bitterness and guilt trips? Most importantly a job that can guarantee you will never be loved?'
Because this company is hiring a charity street fundraiser. A canvasser. Or, as they're lovingly known here in the UK, a chugger. That's charity mugger, to be clear.
Warning: There's profanity in this clip, and in some of the comments below.
Why do people hate chuggers so much?
What would a presentation mugger be like? A prugger, if you will. Help me find out by working some of this into your next presentation.
1) Force people to agree with something mind-numbingly obvious
Don't you think children dying from lack of clean water is bad? Wouldn't a world without bees be awful?
Yes, and yes. These contrived attempts to establish shared concerns are painful for everybody, and high on the list of things people hate most about street fundraisers.
Check out this rage from a Mumsnet user called HellomynameisIcklePickle:
Oh fuck off. Is it just me who gets so annoyed and thinks these "leading questions" are really them saying "You're so stupid, if I just get you to nod your head and agree with me you'll do anything I suggest."
You forgot to end with a question mark there Ickle.
Tip – Don't state the obvious, then expect enthusiastic agreement as if you've just led people from the darkness into the light. What's new and interesting about your information? Focus on that.
2) Get in people's way or – better – follow them down the street
Here's a challenge: think of a scenario where being an unwanted, physical obstruction to a stranger would help your chances of recruiting them to your cause. Answers below please.
Here's another interesting comment from an article about chugging:
Love the comments - all of which hate chuggers. There seems to have been an infestation recently near where I work, all out to make you feel bad even though you already give to charity. Who - on their short lunch break or hurry home - has the time to stand and listen to the pitch, give payment details etc?
Infestation! 40 other humans recommended that comment, by the way. Ace empathy guys!
Tip – Don't overstay your welcome. Stick to the point and leave plenty of time for questions, and don't get upset if there aren't any.
3) Reel off facts and adopt an air of robotic disinterest
There's an incredible lack of humanity in opinions about charity fundraisers. They're vermin, robots. They're an urban Medusa – don't make eye contact or you'll turn to guilty stone!
Just look at this comment on a fascinating article on chugging from a chugger's perspective:
How can it possibly be illegal for homeless people to beg yet legal that I get pestered by at least 5 of these people [chuggers] every time I go for lunch in town?? Charity is the biggest scam going. I would rather give my spare change to a junkie to go get smashed with.
Good causes or drug dependency? A Sophie's Choice moment every investor understands.
Tip – Don't commit every syllable to memory. Understand the material, then practice a natural, conversational style. Smile and gesture, and pause for breath, and all that good stuff.
4) Try to polish a turd or – better – roll it in glitter
Chuggers want your money. But they want you to think they don't want your money. So they try all sorts of things to delay asking for your money. Awkward.
An 'unmarked' fundraiser once shoved his camera into my hands and asked if I would take his picture against a popular landmark. After I'd snapped, he whipped his badge out and began spieling.
Here's a comment from the internet's last bastion of informed debate:
No I'm not your best friend, so don't talk to me like you know me. Yes I've been shopping, yes the weather's nice, good observation, but I'm still not giving you my bank details to set up a direct debit with your charity!
Tip – Delivering bad news? Don’t skirt your issues. Don't dress them up as something they're not. Don't waste people's time. Get to the point, be honest.
What are your presenting no-nos? Let's talk below the line.