Charity fundraisers: ‘They are doing it for a good cause, but they can be a pest’

IT MAY be a cold, drizzly day on Buchanan Street, but the poor weather seems to be no deterrent to charity fundraisers.

Around the underground station entrance, three charity workers cheerfully approach passersby, flashing their identity cards and asking “Have you got a moment?”

Those approached reacted in one of several ways: some take pre-emptive action, holding up their hands and shaking their head before the worker can start to speak to them; others give an apologetic smile and utter brief apologies and speed by; others simply stare ahead and barely drop their pace as they march past.

Occasionally, some people are persuaded to stop and listen to the fundraiser. Those are very much in the minority.

With boundless enthusiasm, the workers on Buchanan Street yesterday took the many forms of rebuff in polite good measure, never letting their smiles fade.

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One fundraiser said he had been working for two months, acting on behalf of various charities in the UK.

“We’re just trying to do a job, trying to raise money.” he said. “But the fact is that you’re are also telling them about a charity they might never have heard about.

“It doesn’t bother me at all when they just rush by or ignore me.”

The 23-year-old said their group of six had been working in Newcastle the day before, where he had been assaulted by a passerby, who had grabbed his identity card and punched him in the stomach.

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He did not think Glasgow City Council’s restrictions would make much difference to charity fundraisers: “In the end people will have to walk up this street, but they can dodge us if they want. I don’t hassle them, you don’t chase them, you’re not allowed to do that.”

Nearby, John Findlay sits on a bench outside the imposing Buchanan Galleries shopping centre watching the charity workers.

The 62-year-old was ambivalent about their presence. “What they are doing is for a good cause, but they can be a pest,” he said. “Sometimes they can be intrusive. Giving to charity should be a personal thing, but they’re trying to make you feel guilty. I generally try to avoid them.”