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Chuggers: Breaching the peace on multiple fronts

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    TLDR Version


    Being of the tribe of hairy armpits, musky bodily scents and bean farts I find the idea of making a living from such an industry a little repugnant. The charity sector struck me as being the solution to working in a system which demanded ethical compromise. My smugness was in part justified. Following a successful interview I began training where i learnt that this Christmas 120,000 children would be classified homeless. We were exposed to a hidden housing crisis where homelessness had been reframed to mean: the junkie on the corner with pitted veins and a begging bowl. Prince William himself recently stated hat “The scale of youth homelessness in this country is now shameful – it must not be ignored. As a society we have a clear duty to redouble our efforts, to do more to help.” Youth homelessness has spiked in the wake of the withdrawal of social housing projects and the ineptitude and bureaucratic sociopathy of councils.

    Our commission was to take this message to peoples' doors in the hopes that empathy and social responsibility would prompt the public to pledge long term support. Dressed in oversized red jackets clearly marked with our organisation's insignia we took to the streets. 7 hours of frozen extremities and rejection bordered on traumatic. I concluded that I was inept. My recitation of the script was flawless but no salesman was I. The salesman must press his case with skill and tact. I lack the subtlety to massage coins out of the wallets of people who are reluctant to give. it is an art.

    The job itself can be summarised as bothering, harassing and manipulating the public. These charges cannot be denied but the vehemence with which they are levelled also points to the level of brass nosed cynicism in the public sphere when it comes to charity. On my adventures I regularly encountered people who proudly declared that they either weren't bothered or didn't give to charity as if it were a point of honour. It is easy to look to Thatcherism and austerity era politics as causes but you also have to consider the fact that much of the public believes that "there are too many charities doing similar work and competing with each other'.

    The reality is that the hapless chugger is faced with a public who have grown callouses over their tender regions as a defence mechanism. It isn't an absence of empathy but simply fatigue. While the charity i represent are the only combined housing and homelessness charity there are a range of others such as St Mungos, Barnardos and Centrepoint offering equally imperative services. These charities have to run on business principles to survive, this means that donations need to be long term and consistent. The charity commission registers 6500 new charities each year with over 185,000 in the UK. The average chugger must justify his cause amidst what appears to the public as an undifferentiated mass. The human response is to switch off, perhaps it is not the humane response but it's either that or die of guilt and condemnation.

    We are referred to as "vultures" we are a "blight" and various councils have repeatedly cracked down on us as if we are a public health menace. Our work is however essential not only in financial terms but because we are the recruitment pool for the fundraising departments. Chugging is a proving ground (some might say killing floor) where future careers in fundraising and charity work are forged. Not only this but as a collective force we have created over 160,000 new donors giving £8 each in the past year alone. While I am currently struggling to justify my own wages being , as I am, on 0 donors my colleagues are pressing ahead and altering lives.

    This is an age where politics has been turned into another source of scandal and sensation while mental health services are forced to downscale leaving schizophrenics and manic depressives unmedicated and untreated. Our councillors and politicians serve the needs of the few at the expense of the many. As a public we can only rely on each other and charities like St Mungos and Shelter are our only champions. Chuggers are therefore more akin to knights or foot soldiers. Being a chugger involves rejection, abuse, exhaustion and dejection and each shift is a gruelling battle against wind ,snow, rain, dog turds and an unsympathetic public. I have an array of other work options but I choose to remain with my organisation because I am convinced that the work we do is crucial.

    Some have suggested that chugger is a portmanteau of charity and mugger. I submit that it better reflects the resilience steel and mettle of workers who are the lifeblood of charity and those of us who resort to aggressive tactics are in breach of a universal ethical code by which we all abide. So next time you feel harangued or menaced by one of us, remember that we are doing work that few can handle long term in the most difficult conditions.
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    Wall of text crits you for 2352352hp
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    I think you used too many paragraphs in your post.
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    T L D S : Too long didn't summarise

    It's basically a defense of charity fundraising. The final few paragraphs are the most pertinent to the defense itself.
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    You could read the Encyclopedia Britannica quicker than that...

    Seriously though, out of curiosity, what % of people you try to harangue actually stop and 'chat'. And what % of those sign up. I imagine both figures are quite small as most people minded to contribute regularly to a favoured charity or cause will already do so.
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    Currently living in a country that has no 'chuggers'

    Been hear getting on two years, and I had completely forgot about what a pain in the arse it is to have people harass you for money.

    No one coming to knock my door.. no one trying to stop me when I am walking a long the street..

    Bliss..

    If it were up to me it would be 100% outlawed. Its a highly ineffective way to conduct business, and whilst it may generate money for charity, I would rather they dirrected their attention to other fundraising + awarenses rasing stratagies, that while maybe not generating quite as much cash, do so in a way that does not make the general public hate fundraising, as in the longrun, that is doing a lot of harm to our society and the way we view charities..
 
 
 
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Updated: November 15, 2016
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