Fundraising companies are doing rather well out of charities that employ them and their teams of “chuggers” (charity muggers).
A report last month in the Daily Mail shows that some of the firms take the first year or so of direct debit donations as their fee, something of which donors will be unaware. One firm, One Sixty Fundraising has charged an upfront fee of £1.303,731 to Unicef, which hopes to raise more than £5million over four years but will have to wait around twelve months before they cover these costs. Another client of the firm, Plan International, have been charged £478,000 plus VAT, with hopes that it can raise £1,304,940 over 5 years, but will not be covering the costs for 27 months. Two firms working for Barnados, Real Fundraising and Urban Leaf Ltd have charged fees of nearly £30,000 with the prospect for Barnados of raising £80-90,000 over five years but waiting around 20 months before costs are covered.
Chuggers are seen by many as unwelcome high pressure sales operatives who pounce on their victims during rush hours and lunch breaks, and in more than 100 towns they are banned from canvassing on certain days. In some parts of Newcastle they have been banned altogether, using Public Spaces Protection Orders.