The Great British Public: As Stuck-Up As The World Thinks

For a period of one week, I worked as a street fundraiser for a company on behalf of a charity. This solitary week of my life where I decided to apply my passion to do something good opened my eyes to a reality that many people brush off.

The British public are genuinely rude, obnoxious and are quite simply horrid despite all claims against it.

The Charity was called Plan UK. To cut the pitch short, it is charity that is working in some of the poorest areas of the world, with their poverty stricken children. They have a campaign at the moment called “Because I Am A Girl” which looks to end Child Marriage (1 in 7 girls under the age of 15 are married off) and bring girls back into education (1 in 3 are denied an education). Personally, I thought it was a worthy cause. Educated girls are more likely to make better life decisions, better choices etc.

Sadly, the public didn’t even want to hear what I had to say.

From being flat out ignored, to being called an “F-ing little cretin wh—“, I was merely trying to help charity.

I understand that some people are busy, but apparently taking five minutes out of someone’s time is a huge crime against them. It does make you laugh really. People generally SAY that AIDS is a bad thing, that poverty IS a hurdle that humanity still faces, that children SHOULDN’T be soldiers but let me ask you, when was the last time that the person who said this gave to charity?

It is time that the British Public came down from their ivory tower.

As a population, it would seem that we love charity. Red Nose Day, Children in Need, Sport Relief and even the fact we still hold on to Live Aid would give the perception that we, the British people, give a rat’s backside about charity. But apparently without fifty celebrities giving it massive publicity, the public just don’t care.

Had YOU heard of Plan before? Probably not. I’m sure however you had heard of the British Red Cross or Cancer Research UK. Not to take away from those charities, but they get SO much financial support you have to think about the smaller charities.

And this is also what I found. Unless you had heard of the charity, you were less likely to give.

The title “street fundraiser” is a bit misleading. I did not take any money. I did not take any bank account details or direct debit orders. I simply asked people to register their interest in MAYBE supporting the charity. But did that stop me from being called a “chugger”[1]? Did it stop people from calling me a thief? All of these comments were from people who didn’t even stop to talk to me. Which was about 95% of the people I attempted to speak to. Had they stopped to talk to me they probably would have realised that I wasn’t taking their money, or forcing them to sign up to a £50 donation each week.

At this point, I must point out that this was mostly the older generations. I did notice that those below the age of probably around 35 were happy to have a little chat, to hear me out, to politely decline. All I ever asked was for a few moments of someone’s time to hear about the great work that Plan was doing. Around 75% of the population who I asked to have a chat with me and instead received abuse from were over the age of 50. Like I said, they accused me of being a “chugger”, a thief, a bane of society, even a c—.

Since when was charity a bane of society?

This is the moment when the British public need to stop and think: when has it been okay for me to abuse someone on the street?

It isn’t acceptable. As my job, I may have been paid, but no human deserves to be shouted at down the street JUST for raising awareness for a charity.

Despite the change of proceedings by charity companies for their street fundraisers (no longer do we carry around clipboards with a dozen sheets, filled out with bank details), the perception is that charity street workers are, in essence, scum. The power of the internet has allowed people to research and look into a charity before signing on the direct debit dotted line. Street fundraisers are no longer there to take money but to raise awareness and ask if someone can contact them in a few weeks to see IF they want to become involved.

Apparently the majority of people still think talking to a street fundraiser is like talking to the devil. Agreeing to have someone contact you regarding the charity was like signing a pact with Satan.

What I urge you to do is not sign up for a charity. This post isn’t about saying that all people are bad because they don’t give to charity. Far from it.

This post is about the next time you see a person on the street wearing a charity’s tee shirt, trying to raise awareness for that cause, don’t abuse them. Don’t just f and blind at them. Take two minutes to stop and have a chat with them and remember that whilst they are paid to do what they do, they do NOT deserve to be abused on the street. They too are human beings and I quote the Golden Rule that I try to live by – “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself”.

So seemingly working/raising awareness for a Charity is taboo. When we thought there weren’t many left, there is one that has sadly emerged.


[1] Chugger is slang for “charity mugger”

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One comment

  1. Generally I do not read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice post.

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