I was asked to write 350 words on chugging for Le Chéile magazine, which is part of The Wheel. The question asked was: “Should charities use chuggers?”.

Full submitted piece:

If you want to be crass, lazy and think only of the short term for your organisation, I have a suggestion for you. If you want to extract money quickly from people and let a private organisation get handsome fees from you, I have a suggestion for you. If this were the Simpsons I’d start singing about a Monorail about now.

Chugging is the fracking of the charity world. It does get you back something of worth but it is controversial, it angers many people and there can be a poisonous fallout over it. If you want to see how the general public feels about chuggers, do a search on Twitter for the phrase or look at the Twitter account @chuggerwatch (I have no affiliation with them, it’s obvious as they are nice to charities)

When I met an organisation that employed chuggers a few years ago they told me if I can find an easier way to get money as quickly, they’ll do it. Shortcuts have gotten this country and our society into trouble in the long term and the quick buck means chuggers blocking you, making you shake their hand, asking for high-fives or hugging you. It will make you first disliked and in time despised by the general public. Don’t forget the massive data protection issues too as these strangers gather banking details in your name.

The organisation I met told myself and other active Twitter users that they would never employ the tactics of asking for handshakes to stop people. Now they do. As people become immune to the usual chugging tactics, stronger more intrusive tactics are needed. Fracking came from the oil industries that drained mother earth dry. What next for chuggers?

The fallout of an industry ignoring more aggressive chugging is that all organisations may be mistrusted and all forms of on-street collections could end up being banned. Politicians in this country will always use a sledgehammer to crack a nut, it is their nature to over-react. If you want to be the BP of the charity sector, I have a suggestion for you…


10 Responses to “Chugging”

  1. ChuggerWatch says:

    Well said. We’ve been asked a few times to write for various magazines, might just refere them to this in future.

  2. darren boyle says:

    Amnesty International were advertising for chuggers recently. They were offering up to €32 an hour. Lucrative business and it explains why the chuggers are willing to harass people.

  3. Excellent.
    And as someone who has worked a few flag days as a volunteer- for Aware, DS Ireland, Irish Cancer Society; they ruin it for the rest of the charities with a genuine base in community support.
    These days when I see a tv ad or hear a radio advert for a charity, I find myself associating with a logo that I have seen swarming the main street of my local town. It is vile.

  4. David Quaid says:

    Well – exactly.

    Charity, to me, is a personal thing. Giving 50c everytime I head to the shop to get a coffee and having to “plan” it so that I have change, and that probably less than 12c of it will go to the people its intended for just feels like a massive waste of resources.

    I’m much happier to put time and effort directly into something!

  5. Donal Og says:

    What amazes me about the world of chugging is that seemingly Irish people have a very negitive few and in many cases a day need to learn to be polite as these are genuine good people doing the job that keeps them going. I find it very much to be the failure of the Irish people that they can’t handle two words in the English language “No Thanks” but for the vast majority in Dublin this seems to be too much for them. I assure you that both aggression and silence really is a showing of your poor character and not the fault of a chugger.

    As for the money that is raised by this method it not only brings in the largest share of the money donated (Via DDplus) but it also very much allows the charities to plan ahead for the future so that they can see whom or what they can help. I believe it to be a very effective way of raising money.

    The people who tell chuggers to F off and get a real job and so on. ask yourself the question what makes your job any better worse, real or fake. are you making any more of a difference in reality this doesnt even matter.

    It just shows that perhaps you are up yourself a little too far. Perhaps you just simply have 2 phones a high up job and no personality.

    @darren boyle Up to 32 would involve a very high number of DD’s being signed because of that person. performance based pay might average at 12euro an hour. and for taking public abuse for something good you are trying to help its hard to say its enough….. if you doubt me then do it yourself for one day.

    I am happy to do my job because of the ease it can be done at times in fairness 40cent a day 3 euro (coffee) a week is nothing to an employed person. I myself am donating to 5 Charities granted I dont have a morgage or a car its different but at the end of the month that money would otherwise be used for something that i might use once, or something i just dont need. I hope that people will kindly build a bridge and get over it when it comes to “Chuggers” Indeed I am a “Charity Hugger”

  6. Baglady says:

    @Donal Og

    Your comment is both insulting and short sighted on the issue of chuggers. For some people working they do not have the price of a cup of tea. I know people who work full time, who struggle with the endless round of bills, cuts on their wages, indirect tax increases, increases in utility bills, increases in food, increases in feeding / clothing their children so they forgo the cup of tea to just about survive . Your attitude towards people who choose not to pay or donate is sanctimonious which may I add is not a once off payment but a request for direct debit details and a minimum spend of €10 to €12 per month which is an utter insult. When an organisation or individual asks for a donation they should never, ever dictate the amount the donater should give. That is one of the problems with chugging and charities who use these. The second is I am very happy to say no thanks but I resent the invasion of my body space and the sarcastic have a nice day. I have a desperate urge to say something else. When a person is relentlessly accosted by chuggers, people begging and bag packers in the supermarket on a daily basis with the above pressures on the miserable amount of cash they have, it gets very, very wearing. It gets tiring saying no thanks all the time and people sarcastically saying thanks have a nice day or looking at you like you a tight wad or heartless. Charities need to find new ways of getting funds and quit trying to act like corporate businesses who have to reach x targets. It is a different dynamic. Okay rant over, this is almost as long as Damian’s piece, which is a great piece, thanks.

  7. Donal Og says:


    Wow what can be said other than the fact that you were clearly thinking ahead of what to rant about rather than actually reading what i had to say, your comment was both assumptive and nieve.

    Firstly if you are struggling with bills and debts then very simply donating to a charity is not for you, this is absolutely fine we ask that you might hear what has to be said and that you would consider giving when and if you can afford to.

    In my experience I have found that middle to lower classes in society seem to donate more so than the higher earners in society! If you dont wish to donate to a charity that is ok you can easily just say so. Its nice to have a conversation or at least for people to give you a nod so that you beileve they think you are real and do in fact exist.

    Secondly Suggestions are made as to how much you should donate, with some charities the minimum is 12 with others or In house charities such as my one you may donate anything over 5 euro a month, the quantity you wish to donate is entirely up to you!!
    As for the assumption of a sarcastic “have a nice day” well what can be said other than for the most part that is just a simple polite reflex and is mostly genuine! if it seems otherwise take a look at why it might come accross that way was it because you behaved un mannerly or perhaps childishly towards them! Believe me I have indeed wanted to say so many other things to rude people, but i would rather not lower myself to their pathetic level, Its a simple suit yourself have a nice day! I you am of course not assuming that you yourself are rude or unmannerly towards chuggars, I empathise with you that it can be tiring in a capital city as ther´re many organisations out there that want your help, but no need to take it out on the joe soap chuggar who does not diserve your insults or aggression.

    Funny that I also undergo the normal strains and stresses of life and yet still manage to be polite to people just doing their job.
    Thank you if you took the time to read this. I do love a good honest discussion.

    Street fundraiser for just over 1 year now

  8. An Sionnach says:

    Good chap chuggerwatch with your 710 followers. Wouldya go away

  9. Geoff B says:


    I may not be typical but I make a relatively large amount of monthly charity donations, like you I suppose, I donate what I feel I can.

    In my case though I cancel DD’s and SO’s to any organisation that employs chuggers. It’s my personal choice.
    For me, charity does not begin with a cash motivated fake handshake.


  10. Chuggerwatch says:

    I was guna put up a bitchy comment and point out the hilarious level of annoyance a twitter account that retweets people can cause but I’m not bothered.
    Feel free to keep giving out about us though, always earns us a few extra followers. Every little bit helps :3