Charities: through the eyes of a chugger
It’s undeniable that if you’re reading this, then you’re enjoying some sort of privilege. Be that through a phone, tablet or classic desktop. To say that we all can’t solve the world’s problems by ourselves is an obvious cliché, yet that doesn’t excuse the decrease in interest or urgency we seem to be showing charities.
The numbers of people who give to charities has been steadily dropping in recent years. Namely in the past three years, which were marked by Oxfam’s mistreatment of Haitian citizens and Save the children’s sexual harassment and leadership dramas among others. These don’t exactly sound like projects that need the public’s full support.
The Charities Aid Foundation has conducted several surveys and collected other relevant data that indicates a decrease in public trust and or interest in charities. 40 per of people say that charities are trustworthy with those in the opposite camp have risen by 21% (everyone else is on the fence). Even amongst the elderly who remain today the most charitable group only 46% would agree that most charities are to be trusted. As Mrs Pinkney the CAF’s head of research puts it “If people lack trust, that means they worry that their hard-earned money is not being well spent when donated to charities”.
So, considering all that, what’s happened to those who work for these large organisations? Chuggers are by no means a rare site nowadays. For must of us, the prospect of spending hours in uniform, speaking to strangers that would much rather ignore you doesn’t sound appealing. Especially when you compound that with the commission-based pay in most cases which is not only in secure because your pay check is determined by how many customers you attract. But also, by the fear of losing your job, thanks to not signing up enough people.
If all that sounds like the worst deal you could imagine, then you must be wondering, why on earth would someone agree to work for these organisations like this?
Jerome, a friendly chugger on great Portland street, who works for Crisis was kind enough to speak to us. He explained that “You need to find what drives you and your reason for doing it. I came from foster care and so I know what it’s like to be in that position”. Jerome himself has been in this line of work for over a year now, though I’m sure you can agree that Jerome’s honourable motivations for braving the public’s apathy are probably a rarity amongst chugger kind.
Instead of pouring some decent change into marketing, more companies are now focusing on their existing patrons and keeping them accounted for. Which doesn’t sound like the worst long-term strategy, as the public seems to be tuning out of the songs that flash on the telly every now and then. People are allegedly providing smaller sums in donations and according to the CAF, fewer people were approached on the street for donations. It doesn’t seem like sunshine and rainbows are ahead for our friendly neighbourhood chuggers.