Pestering street ‘chuggers’ attract 180 complaints a day

On-street 'chuggers' were among the 10 most-complained about methods employed by charities.
On-street 'chuggers' were among the 10 most-complained about methods employed by charities.

Fed up Brits made more than 180 complaints per day last year about charities pestering them for donations, a report has found.

The annual Fundraising Standards Board Complaints Report recorded a total of 66,814 complaints - an increase of six per cent on 2014.

It found just one per cent of charities generate 60 per cent of these complaints, with 500 of the nation’s biggest fundraisers responsible for 98 per cent of grievances.

The report follows the death last year of Olive Cooke, 92, who killed herself after enduring repeated requests from charities, failing health and sleepless nights.

Mrs Cooke, was on the hit-list of 99 charities but only 14 of those offered her the chance to ‘opt out’ of further correspondence. Seventy charities bought or traded her personal details.

Today’s report found Brits are most annoyed with addressed mail and telephone fundraising, which accounted for 60 per cent of all fundraising complaints.

Almost 8,500 people complained about door-to-door fundraisers while 1,033 got in touch after being annoyed by street ‘chuggers’.

The report found 35 per cent of charity fundraising complaints were prompted by a general dislike of fundraising methods.

Andrew Hind, chair of the Fundraising Standards Board, called on charities to “command the respect and approval” of the general public.

He said: “While we must continually stress the essential need for charities to fundraise energetically and innovatively, charities must find ways to ensure that their fundraising approaches minimise any concern to the public.

“Fundraising should always be a positive experience that reflects the charity’s own values and the importance of its supporters.

“The public’s dislike of some fundraising methods highlights the need for charities to listen ever more carefully to supporter feedback and adapt their fundraising strategies in line with those views.

“2015 was a turning point in the relationship between charities and the UK public.

“During the year, the sector made many improvements to fundraising standards and a new regulatory structure is to be launched later this week.

“But in the end, charity fundraising will only achieve its potential and public trust be fully restored if charities ensure that their future fundraising is undertaken in a way which always commands the respect and approval of their supporters and the general public.”

The responsibility for next year’s report has been handed over to the Fundraising Regulator, which was set up in January following the Etherington Review, which was commissioned following the nationwide outrage over Mrs Cooke’s death.

The Fundraising Regulator is headed up by Stephen Dunmore, the former chief executive of Big Lottery Fund.

Mr Dunmore said: “Complaint monitoring is an important analytical tool to help regulators and fundraising practitioners alike understand where public concerns lie.

“As we pick up the reins for regulating charity fundraising later this week, we recognise the critical importance of identifying and addressing concerns from the public.

“This will remain a key focus for self-regulation of fundraising. Without that overview, charities cannot rebuild public confidence in their work and restore trust in the way that essential funds are raised.”

Top 10 fundraising methods prompting complaint in 2015:

Addressed mail (27,089)

Telephone fundraising (13,322)

Doorstep face-to-face (8,497)

Clothing collections (5,342)

Email fundraising (2,441)

Outdoor events (1,634)

Private site face-to-face (1,359)

Lotteries (1,094)

Street face-to-face (1,033)

Raffles (855)