Despite the importance of fund-raising for charitable organisations including the British Red Cross, Oxfam, Mencap, Marie Curie and Macmillan, a recent BBC investigation found that by using this method of collection, charities were often paying the private firms who organise the face-to-face fund-raising £100 or more for each signature collected.
In many cases the charity loses money, but retains people’s personal information.
Mike Ferguson, owner of Piccadilly Arcade shop Smithsonia and Retail Birmingham Board member, said his customers had made their feelings clear.
He said: “A large number of my customers who work in the city often feel uncomfortable and harassed by the face-to-face fund-raisers and are choosing to change their route or avoid the shopping streets at busy periods altogether as a result of these frequent and uninitiated approaches.”
Ian McQuillan, spokesman for the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association which represents 95 per cent of charities that engage in face-to-face fund-raising, said there were many ways to manage chuggers without the need for bylaws.
He said: “We have 42 agreements with councils across the UK, which have put in restrictions on chuggers. We would like to talk to Birmingham City Council about regulating face-to-face collections but they do not want to.
‘‘The council said they were going to have a meeting with the charities and said we were not invited. Our members said if the regulatory body cannot be present then there was no point.”
* The results of the public consultation will be analysed during July. To have your say on face-to-face fund-raisers, fill in the survey at www.birminghamcsp.org.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Face-to-Face Birmingham/Facebook.com by 30 June 2012 or visit www.birminghamcsp.org.uk