How Not to Sell

You’re walking along minding your own business and, in the distance, you see them… wearing brightly coloured tabards and carrying a clipboard. The charity collectors, ready to pounce on you if you make eye contact – or don’t. It can be so hard to avoid them, that sometimes your only option is to slalom your way across the street.

They’re job is to relieve you of some cash by signing you up to a worthy cause. You feel guilty for fleeing from these street hawkers but you’re not alone, 99% of people feel the same way, but 1% do stop to sign up. These charities still use a marketing technique that alienates 99% of their potential patrons. This sales method has seen the term “Chuggers” or ‘charity muggers’ in the urban dictionary for over a decade. 

If you go to Google’s search engine and enter, “Charities are” the algorithm will pre-fill the following results, based on the most popular searches:


  • Charities are corrupt
  • Charities are bad
  • Charities are becoming more professional
  • Charities are a con
This begs the question, does the price of fundraising in this way inflict too much brand damage on would-be loyal customers. Does pummelling your existing client base actually work?


There was a famous study that was widely accepted as fact in the 1990’s. It provided loyalty metrics in boardrooms across the land, suggesting that profits were increased by building sales on existing clients. It turned out that the figures used in this study by management consultancy firm was a theoretical/ thought study only and this method and information on retention rates was totally misleading. People love to buy but hate to be sold.


An extreme example of this was a tragic case in the UK that involved an elderly poppy sales worker, Olive Cooke. She had dedicated most of her life to charitable organisations. Not only working on behalf of charities, she had also donated to a great number of them too. At aged 92 Olive killed herself, due in part to the overwhelming number of requests she was getting, asking for more donations. In an investigation after her death it has been estimated that she was receiving almost 3000 of these requests a year.
The full story can be read here: 
The truth is being chased for increased donations after you have purchased once isn’t effective. This has been proven to do far more damage to your brand than good. Research has shown that people often switch loyalty and only return to brands that they have a positive emotional connection with. Great communication that strengthens relationships with a brand means that people part with their money, willingly – that’s real loyalty.


Like what you see?

Email Address
Subscribe to: Newsletter

Thank you for your subscription.

There's something wrong with your submission, please check the details.

So, what's next?