Street fundraisers: Your stories

Charities now face fines of at least £1,000 if their street fundraisers - often called "chuggers" - breach rules designed to protect members of the public.

The restrictions mean that fundraisers cannot follow a person for more than three steps.

The new rules will be enforced across the UK by the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association.

BBC News website readers have been sharing their experiences of chuggers and street fundraising.

Angie Willems, Coventry Cats Group

Image caption Angie Willems (2nd from the right): "Some street fundraisers give small charity groups a bad name."

I'm a trustee of the charity and we are trying to raise funds for a new rescue centre.

This autumn, we plan to organise a series of Saturday street collections in Coventry, Rugby and Warwick, using buckets and tins, as our charity heavily relies on street collections.

To do this we need to get permits from the council, so any more rules could make the process more difficult for us.

As a small group of unpaid volunteers, the only part of these new worries that I'm worried about is the impact not being able to stand within three metres of shop doorways.

We never harass people to donate, but we do often need to stand somewhere that can provide some warmth or protection from the elements.

It also seems a very overcomplicated process - if spot checks will be in use, why not introduce spot fines or the confiscation of permits on the spot with fines per breach? This is going to cost a huge amount to police.

I think some professional street fundraisers give small charity groups a bad name.

We hold our collection tins and buckets in a polite manner, but now people may think that we will try to approach them and will therefore try to avoid us.

Adrian Lucas, Manchester

I've been avoiding chuggers in town centres for years, but now they have starting knocking on my front door!

I think that if everybody refused to talk to these people, then they would disappear and such rules just brought in would not be needed.

Folk who want to give to charities should contact the charities directly, but even this has its risks.

I made a donation by text about a year ago and I thought that was the end of the matter.

But soon afterwards, I started getting unsolicited calls from the charity telling me what a great guy I was and basically asking for more money.

It would appear these days, if you make a donation, expect these 'professional' charity workers to bug you on a regular basis.

Consequently I got so fed up that I now do not donate to any charity: I have cancelled my direct debits and I will not stop for chuggers on the street.

Nick Tizard, Devon

I have worked with charities across the UK as an agency that provided door-to-door fundraising services.

Working for 40 charities and bringing in many millions of pounds for worthwhile causes, it was an ideal and ethical organisation.

But our business became a victim of the bad publicity caused by face-to-face street fundraising and the public's reaction to what was then (and still is now) a pretty unregulated activity.

I have worked with other outside agencies who conduct their own face-to-face on behalf of major UK charities and on the whole I abhor their techniques and laugh at the ineffective nature of all regulation.

Who will police it? Who will implement the new rules?

This is no surprise as all the regulation has been created by those who make the most out of this in the short-term - the fundraising agencies.

I have allowed myself to be stopped by street fundraisers, just to see the methods they have adopted.

Many of them fail to make a verbal declaration before a member of the public pledges to give money. The fundraisers should say that they are paid by the charity to ask people to make donations.

Until the rules are tested, the current situation will never change.

The long-term benefits of face-to-face fundraising depend entirely on the quality of those people who are taken by the charity collectors.

With the methods currently used the charities have their work cut out trying to retain a decent level to ensure they break even.

Katy Dickinson, Nottingham

It's a huge shame that rules have eventually had to be applied to these charities, because of the relentless harassing of their 'charity workers'.

Speaking from the point of view of someone who is sick of these people, approaching the public in the streets and town centres in such a way is invasive and off-putting to the public.

Charities must be struggling the most during this recession, but they seem to have failed to notice their own trial and error.

Nowadays, when I'm walking through Nottingham town centre and spot a chugger from a distance, I do all I can to avoid that particular area and not make eye contact.

I have also been chased down the street a couple of times by persistent chuggers when I said I wasn't interested, which made me feel unbelievably uncomfortable and embarrassed.

My boyfriend has got frustrated with having to avoid being hassled and just straight out shouts at them to 'back off' if he's approached.

Why have these participating charities not cottoned on to the fact that they are driving people away from needy causes?

Giving to charity has become an annoyance - this is the last thing they need.

Interviews by Andrée Massiah

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