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To not give to a charity I've never heard of?

(32 Posts)
Yoghurty Tue 23-Oct-12 13:21:54

Wondering whether I'm being too suspicious!

Just walked into my local train station where there was a man in a neon safety jacket shaking a yellow bucket for 'disabled children'. When I asked what the charity was (I couldn't see a name of a charity organisation anywhere) he pointed to the bucket- which said 'St Mungo's fund for disabled children' with a picture of a child in a wheelchair. I asked which St Mungo's it was and he looked at me angrily and said 'we're a registered charity, if you don't want to give any money then just say so'.

I was a bit taken aback and walked onto the platform but now wonder whether it was legit or not!

I have DD's set up out of my account to Macmillan and the RSPCA and usually drop change into a pot, but only if I know the charity- am I BU?

Do some smaller charities suffer because of suspicious people like me?!

Scholes34 Tue 23-Oct-12 13:25:43

I thought they were a homeless charity. And I'd also heard it was a hospital for magical maladies.

Yoghurty Tue 23-Oct-12 13:29:42

Ha! As did I!
There is a St Mungo's church in the area ( which is who I initially thought he was collecting for) but nothing on the bucket label mentioned the church.

I'd of thought that if it was, the collector might have said so?

lurkedtoolong Tue 23-Oct-12 13:30:51

YANBU at all. And what a dreadful attitude from the collector, he could have taken the opportunity to tell you how wonderful his charity was and try to get you to donate a wee bit more.

jeee Tue 23-Oct-12 13:33:46

I could have a nasty suspicious mind, but if the collector was getting defensive about the status of the charity, I'd want to check it was real. It's fine to ask questions. They should be prepared to answer them.

And you should never feel obliged to donate to a charity anyway.

ThatArtfulPussy Tue 23-Oct-12 13:36:09

You can check registered charities on the Charity Commission website - and it doesn't seem to show any such charity, so at the very least you'd want to know more about them before making a donation.

squoosh Tue 23-Oct-12 13:38:19

Sounds dodgy to me.

There are so many dodgy can shakers these days and you were asking legitimate quesions. Lots of collectors are paid to collect and in many cases only a tiny fraction of donations go to the actual charity. You're right to be suspicious.

squoosh Tue 23-Oct-12 13:39:08

There's a charity shop near me called 'A Charity Shop' hmm

I keep meaning to ask which 'charity' they support.

RuleBritannia Tue 23-Oct-12 13:40:57

Royal British Legion collectors are not paid to collect in the street. They are volunteers. I know because I've done it.

RuleBritannia Tue 23-Oct-12 13:43:35


Any of these fit the OP's collector?

Wigeon Tue 23-Oct-12 13:44:02

Definitely not being too suspicious. No idea why he didn't enthusiastically explain to you all about his great charity.

Incidentally, you can search the Charity Commission's website by registered number or name. There are three charities with the name "St Mungo" or "St Mungo's" somewhere in it:

One of them is the well-know and totally legit national homeless charity.

One of them appears to be about Orthodox Christianity in Cumbria.

The last appears to be about a church in Northumbria called St Mungos.

I suppose it's possible that he was collecting for the homeless charity, and that they have a project to do with disabled children. Or he is collecting for your local church called St Mungo's. In which case why didn't he say so?

If you can be bothered, it might be worth asking one of the station staff whether they authorised him to collect there, and whether they are certain that he is connected to a legitimate registered charity. Certainly his attitude seems very odd - if he was legitimate why would he be angry?

Wigeon Tue 23-Oct-12 13:44:50

Sorry, cross-posted!

squoosh Tue 23-Oct-12 13:48:17

RuleBritannia I wasn't saying that all charity collectors are paid, I know they're not, but people should be aware that there are some who are. You can usually tell as

a) you've never heard of the charity before
b) They look dodgy
c) can get quite arsey if you choose not to donate or question them about the charity.

NorbertDentressangle Tue 23-Oct-12 13:49:23

Unfortunately, in this day and age, it pays to be suspicious as even genuine charities are targeted by conmen. People will stop at nothing and will even rip them off.

Locally to us there was a doorstep clothing collection via bags that are distributed and then collected at a later date. On the surface the bags looked to be raising money for the local Air Ambulance charity (eg. picture of a medical helicopter, the words 'air ambulance' and 'charity' used) but when you actually looked at the wording properly it was for a private company and the absolute minimum amount of money raised was going to the charity. In reality, I doubt even that was given.

Wigeon Tue 23-Oct-12 13:50:16

squoosh - actually, lots of the very biggest charities use paid "chuggers" to get you to sign up to direct debits, and they are usually not at all arsey if you question them about the charity. In fact they have been trained to go on and on and on about how wonderful the charity it, what projects it does etc etc!

squoosh Tue 23-Oct-12 13:50:28

The charity collectors inside the doors of Primarks all seem v dodgy to m.

Wigeon Tue 23-Oct-12 13:51:07

Also, donating in a bucket is a really inefficient way of giving to charity. No gift aid for a start. Your Direct Debits are a much better idea, OP.

CrazyCatLady13 Tue 23-Oct-12 14:07:07

When people collect for charity they are supposed to display their charity number clearly - if they don't have a charity number I don't give!

ReindeerBOOOOllocks Tue 23-Oct-12 14:12:16

I have collected for charity in a similar manner before. The charity would also be unknown if you weren't aware of this particular condition.

However, I had a registered permit which was issued from the council (and attached to my jumper (all street collectors should have these). Also I did talk to people who enquired to what it was for, and how the funds would help (I know a fair bit about the organisation. Finally I did it all for free, because I support the charity. We raised £400 from a days collecting, so not a waste of funds, nor are we chuggers - paid people who have to fill in DD forms.

He should have provided you with the info, and also the charity should be registered with the council. YWNBU, but let's not tar all street collectors with the same brush. They have strict rules and most people I know do it because they believe in the cause they are supporting.

ReindeerBOOOOllocks Tue 23-Oct-12 14:13:28

My brackets are all over the place and don't make sense! Sorry.

WelshMaenad Tue 23-Oct-12 14:22:22

'disabled children' seems awfully broad. If want to know specifically what disabilities they cover. And what they do for the kids. I mean, my dd us disabled, I could have a collection and use it to pay for her Xmas presents and call it a collection for disabled children.

Obviously I wouldn't.

eBook Tue 23-Oct-12 14:23:06

How about contacting the train station with your concerns? Presumably they'd have had to ask permission to collect there, and they might be able to shed more light on what (if any) checks were done.

bigbluebus Tue 23-Oct-12 15:11:52

I have walked past charity collectors for similar reasons.
I once passed a couple of collectors in our local town who said they were "collecting for local disabled children". At the time my DD who is disabled was about 12yo and I had never heard of this charity, and it is only a small town. One of them was collecting just outside Tesco's doors and I toyed with the idea of going in and seeing if Tesco had authorised and checked out this collector. In the end I went home and googled the charity, which did exist, and did help disabled children, but was not based in our area and I doubt that they helped many/if any children around here. I have never seen them again since.

HappySeven Tue 23-Oct-12 15:48:58

Yanbu. I asked the woman in McDonalds asking for a donation for Ronald McDonald houses where there were some as I'd never heard of one in this country. She got quite shirty as though I was accusing her of fraud when all I wanted was to know some more before I made a decision. I think you should know a bit about the charity you are collecting for.

Frontpaw Tue 23-Oct-12 15:53:08

Well those 3 idiots in Birmingham rattled cans and collected from unquestioning idiots people (I disagree with collections along religious lines only) for a 'muslim charity' and used the money to try to make bombs so, no, you aren't bad for being suspicious.

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