Skip to main content

You're walking down the street when someone holding a clipboard and desperately trying to make eye contact with you asks if you've got a moment to spare for whatever charity it is they work for. Are you sick of this experience?

People in Manchester, England, seem to be, because the city has just restricted the practice under a new agreement that will see face-to-face charity workers relegated to four sites in the city centre, where they will only be allowed to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The voluntary agreement between city management and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, a group that monitors face-to-face fundraising, will come into effect on Feb. 28.

The agreement comes in response to complaints of so-called "chuggers"– short for charity muggers – who some say have become a nuisance in popular shopping areas in Manchester.

Although only five collectors will be permitted in each zone at any given time, there are fears the measure may see charity workers becoming more aggressive.

"I can see that this is a tough climate for charities and they are having to do more with less. My concern is that this will force them into an even more aggressive approach," Lord Foulkes, a Member of the Scottish Parliament, told the BBC.

Measures to curtail the proliferation of face-to-face fundraising certainly seem to be growing in popularity across Britain: Thirty-nine other towns and cities there have a street-fundraising agreement similar to the one in Manchester.

Do you think cities in Canada should follow suit?