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‘Chugging’ criticised

07 December 2012

MORE than half the people who agree to donate to charity by direct debit as a result of contact with a "chugger" will cancel within a year, research by Virgin Money suggests.

Charity representatives, often employed by commercial organisa-tions, work in high streets to persuade people to sign up to direct debits: they have been nicknamed chuggers as a shortened form of "charity muggers".

Virgin Money, which runs an online donation-processing service, says that 62 per cent who sign up will cancel in the first year. But the trade association the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), says that its investigations over the past five years put the figure at between 50 and 55 per cent.

The PFRA represents more than 100 charities that use chuggers, including Christian Aid, World Vision, and the Children's Society. It says that about £130 million is given to charities each year as a result of face-to-face fund-raising.

Research conducted by the Office for National Statistics suggests that charity donations fell by 20 per cent in the 2011/12 tax year, from £11 billion in 2010/11, to £9.3 billion in 2011/12.

A report by Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations says that the average amount that people give each year continues to fall, from £12 a month in 2009/10 to £10 a month last year.

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