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Street Fundraisers: the true cost of the hard sell
Jacqui Martin - Thursday, February 13, 2014
Last week, Australia media news site Mumbrella ran a controversial article criticising the street fundraising strategies of some of Australia's most prominent (and successful) charities.


(Image Via Getty)

Some of the tactics employed by the street teams are detailed by the author, Tim Burrowes:    

Despite the guy having a coffee in his hand, the fund raiser still tried to grab two of the man’s fingers. He only just avoided dropping the coffee.

I walked past a worker in mid spiel to a tourist. (Slightly illogically) I felt like going up to the tourist and warning him he was being conned. Do these charity brands really want their logos to be on the backs of people that passers by casually view as conmen?

Burrows also concludes:

... I can’t help but wonder whether the price of fundraising for organisations is becoming too high for the brand damage it inflicts.

The article caused spirited debate about the methods and merits of this kind of marketing, even prompting a response from the industry.  

Amnesty International's Adam Futeran stepped up to defend his staff, the strategy and results of street fundraising teams in his organisation:

It’s estimated that well over 250,000  people sign up to charity organisations through face to face from these kinds of discussions on public streets in Australia each year. That’s over 1 million conversations taking place, that otherwise may not have.

That interaction is aimed not only at funding our work, but also raising awareness about people who don’t have the freedom to make the everyday choices we do;  decisions like who we engage with, the type of conversations we have and what we choose to believe. Simple life choices that we so often take for granted.


What do you think? Are you cynical of charities that employ people to fundraise, rather than use volunteers? Have the street teams gone too far in their approach to engaging passersby, or are they just doing their job (and a tough one at that)? 

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