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Donors Eleven: who gives to charity bucket collections

Donors Eleven: who gives to charity bucket collections

nfpSynergy has published a quirky look at the types of people who donate (or don’t) to charity bucket collections, identifying eleven main types.

The list came about as the result of nfpSynergy staff collecting donations for Plan International UK for a day at London’s Liverpool Street station.

These are the types they discovered:

The passionate one: clued up on the issues, passionate about the cause and annoyed that others aren’t donating, these people generally give larger amounts – notes are not uncommon. However, they are very rare. They can be slightly worrying for the collector as these people will often know more than them about the issue.

The smiler: happy to give and glad that you’re giving them the opportunity to donate, these people are full of thanks and encouragement. They make the collector glad that they are volunteering and give them heart to carry on for another hour.

The sympathetic sceptic: these people want to give, but will make sure that the charity, your t-shirt, identification badge, the bucket and/or cause are above board. Will donate after inspecting your badge closely.

The furtive one: they get their money sorted out of sight; they then return to put their money in the bucket with a very serious face, with no eye contact, without saying anything, and don’t respond to your cheery ‘thank you’. Surprising and slightly unnerving for the collector.

The ‘digesters’: it takes them a while to process the message that the collector is shouting, and realise or decide that they do want to give. They then stop in their tracks (making those behind them a little annoyed) and search for their purse or wallet, return to the collection point, and give.

The apologist (1): earnest and slightly furtive, this group scrambles around in their purse or pocket for money and pops whatever they can find into the bucket with a muttered apology about it ‘not being very much’. They don’t realise that whatever they are giving (apart from the man who gave 3p) warms the collector’s heart as they’ve been ignored for the last 10 minutes.

The apologist (2): these people apologise for not having any money to donate and hurry on. Their feelings of guilt about not giving can make the collector feel awkward for asking, and may result in an apology in turn.

The tease: they make eye contact, smile, nod and encourage the collector but walk on by with no donation.

The virtue signaller: they’re already doing lots to help the world, and don’t want to give – but they still want you to know that they’re ‘doing their bit’

The rushers: these people are too busy to stop and give, and unfortunately comprise the majority of people.

The active rejecters: for this group, charity begins at home, and this fact must be stated very loudly and slightly aggressively.

Which ones do you recognise, and, dare we ask, which one are you?


Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

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