A campaign to get people to give 1% of their gross annual salary to charity.

My pledge can be found here: www.pledgebank.com/onepercent

See how much you would give

Your monthly giving to charity for this pledge should be: £

05 June 2005

Chugging the Chuggers

Hi everyone

So at the end of last week I was innocently walking down the street on my way to meet a friend for a post work beverage. Nothing unusual in that I here you say. I was a sea of tranquility in a bit of a daze and listening to a very calming song on my ipod ('Easy Money' by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - a great song and very prophetic as it turns out).

And then a chugger steps into my path.

Now, I believe chuggers are spreading like weeds throughout the country, but in case you don't know what they look like here is an example:

Charity Mugger - boo hiss

They are the quite annoying people who ask if you have five minutes to spare for such and such charity. A good thing in theory, but unfortunately they change charity from week to week and you constantly run the gauntlet of them if you live in London. I personally feel that they have a lot to do with putting people off donating to charities that they'd otherwise be interested in.

Anyway, he literally stepped into my path (I almost walked into him) and started with the "can you spare 5 minutes for this charity" speil. For a change I thought I'd hear him out. Very interesting and the charity in question does some very good work. Anyway I explained that I would consider donating but wasn't prepared to give out my bank details to a total stranger in the middle of the street (which I don't think is unreasonable).

So at this point he goes to walk away. And the genius of the Cola kicks in....

"Have you got 5 minutes to hear about the pledge I'm doing online"

Oh yes!

Anyway he wasn't that keen to listen to me as he obviously had targets to meet. I made sure I gave him one of my little pledge cards though. This is going to be my new policy - hear them out and then see if they're prepared to do what they're asking people to do.

In his case he said he'd think about it. I think he was trying to get rid of me though. With any luck he's either feeling guilty and going to sign up (although he could be one of the people I don't know who has - if you are sorry for giving you a bad press!), or he's taken the card and shown his mates telling them that I'm a mentalist and giving me more publicity. Ha ha ha ha

So if a chugger comes up to you tomorrow, turn it round on them. Give them one of My flyers. I can guarantee they will shuffle and look uncomfortable but you never know!





At 11:02 am, Blogger Tim said...


I am kind of not surprised your pledge is not succeeding so far.
(But I have signed up)

While many people do, would or could contribute 1% of their gross income (making it gross is a bit harsh by the way and unfairly penalises the wealthy), what they certainly don't want to do is to shout about it.

And they certainly don't want to hector others.

Hence why it's such a tough ask for Pledgebank.

Pledgebank is a great tool for engineering tipping points where the collective action changes the nature of the problem - for example the no to id card mass rebellion (or poll tax), where mass rebellion would result in total system collapse.

And it's great for gathering resources and skills in order to complete a project. It will take 30 people just a day to build a community centre, but one person may simply never be able to achieve it.

But it is less appropriate for drumming up support for issues of personal conscience.

Of course there is a soft, mutual support benefit to knowing others are giving 1%, and thats why Ive signed. It's the core AA or Weight Watchers idea. But these mutual help organisations work through anonymity.

This is the nub of your problem I think.

The UK doesn't embrace philanthropy as a part of the social fabric. It's seen as smug, and self-congratulatory.

Your pledgers should be invited into a community, where they can support and educate one another in
private. Philanthropy is the love that dare not speak its name.

Pledgers should not have to declare their munificence in public.

There are some other problems of scepticism too, of course - a lack of charity transparency, aversion to a 1% idea as a form of social taxation applied by the 'moral minority' and so on. There is also the obvious fact that 1% of a poorer person's income is a lot costly more than for a rich person.
There's also a valid, larger debate over the role of the state and markets in providing the services that charities provide.
Despite all structured efforts to create a giving culture, giving-levels remain broadly static.

In the face of all this resistance
how do you 'cut through' with your pledge? Two thoughts:

1. Why not allow people to opt for anonymity, as long as they are accredited to the PB system.

2. Why not turn this blog into something 'softer' - less campaigning; more debating. empower people to make this change by giving them tools and advice to do something about it.

There are some great sites out there.

PS. Don't slag off the face to face recruiters. There doing a tough job which is not that well paid, but that remains one of the most effective ways of recruiting money for causes that desperately need it. Without it regular giving would be a lot lower than it is.

At 3:14 pm, Blogger David said...

I'm not sure that gross unfairly penalises the rich. I'm assuming that anyone on higher rate tax will be giving via Gift Aid, and completing a Self-assessment form (can you be a higher rate taxpayer without a SA form given that you have to pay extra tax on your interest from the bank?). Then if you earn 3000/month, you can give £21.60, the charity gets 30, and you can claim about £4 back from your tax bill at the end of the year. This in fact means that the wealthy are actually better off, as they are not paying marginal NI on that 30 quid.

At 3:14 pm, Blogger David said...

Please note, I am not a tax lawyer, but I think that is approximately right.

At 10:24 pm, Blogger Libra said...

Hi, I'm doing some research into search 'keywords' related to finding friendship on the web, e.g. 'toy hobby' . I need to talk to people who regularly look for new friends on the web. I've found some people via toy hobby but I need to talk to more. Can you suggest where else to try?

At 10:24 pm, Blogger Libra said...

Hi, I'm doing some research into search 'keywords' related to finding friendship on the web, e.g. 'toy hobby' . I need to talk to people who regularly look for new friends on the web. I've found some people via toy hobby but I need to talk to more. Can you suggest where else to try?


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