New research is launched today that aims to explore how street fundraisers make the transition from the street to working in charity fundraising departments.
Specialist charity recruitment agency Flow Caritas, which is conducting the project, says more fundraisers are starting their careers this way – Flow has already identified around 60 such fundraisers – but there is very little support and guidance or new entrants to the fundraising profession.
Rory White, Flow Caritas’s managing director, said:
“When Flow Caritas was established 10 years ago, there was this stereotype about street fundraisers that they were students or failed actors who couldn’t get a real job – and you can still hear that stereotype bandied around today.
“But it is now pretty obvious that a substantial number of former so-called ‘chuggers’ have made this transition, people who may have been lost to charities had they not started out on the street.
“If they can do it, why can’t a whole new generation of potential charity fundraisers – people who are considering a career in the voluntary sector but aren’t sure if replying to an ad on Gumtree is the best way to go about it?”
[quote align=”right” color=”#999999″]I get surprised and frustrated when people say ‘chuggers’ should get a real job, because what can be more ‘real’ than that?[/quote]
Former street fundraisers Christian Dapp, who is now direct marketing manager at the Brain Research Trust, is taking part in the survey. He points out that there are not many ways for young people to get a foothold in charities.
“There’s doing an unpaid internship, or there’s being a face-to-face fundraiser, for which you are grafting seven hours a day, out representing charities to the public, and getting paid for your time,” he says. “I get surprised and frustrated when people say ‘chuggers’ should get a real job, because what can be more ‘real’ than that?”
But another area of entry to the sector for young people is through student rag fundraising, with a number of senior fundraisers – such as Alan Clayton, Steve Andrews and Richard Turner, having started this way.
The research will be in two stages – an online survey followed by in-depth interviews with up to 10 fundraisers. The survey is open to any former street fundraiser who is now working in other fundraising disciplines at a charity.
To take part, visit Flow’s Streets Ahead survey.
Flow says it will publish a full report this summer.
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