Saving threatened habitats worldwide

Charity mugging and impulse donations

3 July, 2009 - 13:28 -- John Burton

I have been a bit silent on my blogs lately, mainly because we have been so incredibly busy. Lots of action on the land purchase front, and panics world wide with our partner organisations suffering considerably from the economic recession. Nearly all of them are making drastic cuts, and while it is a good time for land purchase, it is pretty disastrous for them trying to fund the management of reserves. One of our partners has had their budget cut by 50%, simply because one major donor stopped funding. Interestingly, at the WLT we have seen a slight surge in support from the corporate sector, despite the general trend of falling donations.

One of the reasons other fundraising charities are seeing a fall in donation is, I am convinced, because they have been too reliant on impulse donations. The most extreme form of this is "chugging" or charity mugging. This is when someone stops you in the street to ask you a few questions about the homeless or some similar cause and end up by asking for your name and address so that you can be sent more information. These people appear to be dedicated charity workers -- and indeed some are; others may be out of work actors or students apparently. The point is they are paid to acquire names and addresses, and very often the donors recruited in this (very expensive) way, either don't make any donations, or only make one or two, before falling away in a time of recession. I personally dislike this type of pressurised marketing of a charity and have actually stopped donating to a charity that uses such methods.

By avoiding any form of pressurised marketing, the donors the WLT attracts are likely to be long term, and committed. This is certainly what we are seeing at present. But at the moment it is a real priority to find some funds to help and support our local partners through these difficult times. So if anyone knows a foundation or trust that would like to support any of our partners (remember £5,000 often goes a very long way, and can support a staff position and a whole education programme for example) do let me know.

Have you been approached by a "chugger", or been otherwise subjected to pressurised charity marketing? Do you feel that raising money for good causes warrant the use of these methods? Do let me know your views.

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