Saturday, 21 May 2011


My donations to charity fall into several categories: large one-off donations, regular direct debit, sponsorship and small adhoc donations.  I like to choose the charities that will receive my money in my own time and I don't like the so-called chuggers who approach you in the street, tell you about a terrible injustice somewhere in the world, and then ask you to sign up for a direct debit benefiting the charity for whom they work.

I understand why charities want people to sign up for direct debits.  Once you've signed up it's a pretty much guaranteed regular income with no more effort or resource on the part of the charity fundraising department.

But chugging is intrusive and it has a very negative approach that requires that the victim feel guilty.  Giving to charity should be something that is done willingly without coercion and it should be something that makes the giver feel good.  Channel 4's Secret Millionaire programme highlights very well how giving is good for the soul.

Earlier this year I made a large donation to UNICEF.  I'm sure the money will be put to good use.

Today I received a call from UNICEF.  They were grovelingly grateful for my donation which made me feel uncomfortable.  The tone of the conversation was deferential which I don't like.  I prefer conversations that are on an even footing and have balance.

The call then turned into a telephone chugging that involved asking me to sign up for a direct debit after telling me about the paucity of childhood vaccinations in third world countries.

I've signed up to the telephone preference service at home because I don't like uninvited intrusion into my home life.  I despise the High Street chugging activity and was very unimpressed that UNICEF choose to spend money on telephone chugging existing supporters in their own homes.

So UNICEF, if you're listening, please spend time on researching and profiling your supporters because if you carry on approaching supporters inappropriately you will tarnish your brand image which is likely to lead to less support in the future.

1 comment:

Dean Pegler said...

I couldn't agree more. Well said.