Chuggers, beware: New rule will aim to protect people from street fundraisers’ aggressive sales tactics

A chugger in action in another part of the country
A chugger in action in another part of the country

Hemel Hempstead ‘chuggers’ will face a raft of new measures to stop them from pressurising people to into setting up regular direct debit donations to charity.

The term ‘chugger’ mixes the word ‘charity’ and ‘mugger’ and arose after the aggressive selling tactics used by some street fundraisers were widely reported in the media.

Sometimes the salary a fundraiser receives will be dependent on the number of direct debit donors they can find to support the charity.

But a new partnership between Dacorum Borough Council and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) will attempt to control chugging in Hemel Hempstead.

This will aim to balance out the need for charities to ask people for support and the right for people not to be put under unnecessary pressure to donate. Under the new agreement, fundraisers will be able to visit the Marlowes shopping area twice a week, but they must follow the Institute for Fundraising’s code of fundraising practice.

More than 90 councils have signed up to this statute, drawn up by the PRFA, since it was launched in 2012.

PFRA outreach officer Stephen Service said: “Charities and fundraising agencies are keen to demonstrate that in partnership with councils they can be effective self-regulators.”

Dacorum’s portfolio holder for residents and regulatory services Neil Harden said: “Working with the PFRA will make sure Hemel Hempstead’s thriving town centre remains a great place to visit.”