The boycotting of charities

  • Charity giants have been hounding vulnerable people on a ‘no-call’ list
  • British Red Cross, Oxfam and Macmillan are exploiting loopholes in the TPS

Though my opinion of the DM and that of many can be summed up in the comment below, they do occasionally do good work and this is one such time … if they follow it through, that is.

charity mail higham

# The other day, I was in town. Girl came up with a charity sign on and a clipboard.  I reached in to get a few pounds, trying to get the “give figure” up to one tenth of my income which never happens but I get about halfway.  
She said no, she couldn’t accept money.

That’s when it dawned. I told her she’d just lost a donation. Bye.

# When I changed my BT number to stop both cold calling and some stalkers, I paid for a service which it seems many have availed themselves of – TPS.

Within seconds of the new arrangement being set up [BT required a new contract], I was called by one of the stalkers and that was followed by two cold calls.  I got onto BT and got nowhere.

At the Mail article, I went through every single comment and tried to compile a list of good and bad charities.  It got a bit long, I’m afraid but it’s below.


#  TPS IS INEFFECTIVE! i know one MD who has fines of £20k sat in his top drawer.. laughs it off.. you will ALWAYS receive unwanted calls until the law is changed.. young, unemployed and vulnerable people get pulled into these jobs but soon learn the truth when the thousand quid commission doesn’t appear they quit, and the revolving door takes another spin with a new set of ‘recruits’.

#  The TPS has no teeth and never has had. I have been registered for years and get cold calling on a daily basis but not just charities. What adds to the nuisance and insult is that although I am not paying for the call I am paying for the line rental. I can’t think of any other service or utility that I pay for that someone else thinks they can make use of without my permission. I wouldn’t invite a stranger who didn’t have a TV licence to watch mine just because I do have a licence. I have a landline to keep in touch with family and friends not for someone to call begging for money or to promote their home improvement business.

#  Don’t forget to report all the firms who cold call you to the TPS and the ICO do not let them get away with these scams

#  Major charities, including the NSPCC, the British Red Cross and Macmillan, were found to be calling people who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

One good piece of advice:

#  Don’t answer the phone, when it’s stopped ringing dial 1471. If it gives a number, Google it and there are numerous web sites dealing with nuisance calls where you can find out who it is that’s called. Get a contact number and tell them not to ring. I’ve had to do it twice in the last fortnight, they’re a nuisance.


These are some of the animals who contract the cold-calling for charities in the UK.

#  An undercover Mail reporter worked for three weeks for London-based GoGen, a company that carries out campaigns for 40 of the country’s biggest charities, including Cancer Research UK, Save The Children and Age International.

#  Then, we should ask them for money again – three times, in fact, in every single call. Situated in a run-down area of Dalston, east London, the GoGen call centre – and its £7.30-an-hour staff – are entrusted by big charities with national campaigns.

#  The British Red Cross, NSPCC, Oxfam, Macmillan cancer support, Cancer Research UK and Save the Children all rely on the centre.

#  And there is nothing casual about the company’s attitude to raising money. In a spirit of aggression that seems at odds with charitable giving, bosses demand ‘brutal’ and ‘ferocious’ requests for money.

Fundraisers are told to get charity supporters ‘on the back foot, where we need them to be’.

‘We are now going to take it up a level. I want to hear much more ferocious asks,’ we were told at the beginning of one shift by Hadley, a supervisor.

As they do not directly run the charities, it’s trickier not giving them any money. What would be useful is the names and addresses of the bosses.

From comments:

#  I worked in this despicable company Gogen for one day and I made sure NEVER to go back there. To give you an understanding there are many – and I mean MANY teenagers, young adults and students who work in this organisation.

The prospect of earning £7.30 p/h is so enticing to young individuals that this company has no troubles in hiring/firing staff like that. If you don’t reach donations targets you’re fired, and they get away with this by firing people within their probationary period – which mind you can last 6 – 9 months!

They hire pretty much every week because of the amount of staff they fire or those who just see how rotten to the core this company is. My view of what a charity is, is to raise awareness and compel someone to do a charitable act, be appreciative of their life and what they have – the company GoGen is far away from that.

More generally:

#  These companies that are sub contracted by charities are a disgrace . Our eldest son joined one during the summer about 8 years ago which was based in Wolverhampton.

They had one days training then eight young people was taken out to Telford and dropped off at 8 in the morning and picked up at 9 on the evening then taken back to the office in Wolverhampton where they had to go through all the paperwork eventually finishing at 11 pm and getting home just before midnight .

The last two hours was unpaid but it made no difference anyway because my son and his,team was told they hadn’t reached their targets and so had not earned anything because it was paid by commission only . They are not only bully people into contributing they also treat the kids who work for them like dirt too .

The charity companies are in bold, the context is the comment at the Mail around it:

#  I used to support Age UK until I found out that the chief executive pays himself £192,000 per year.

#  We signed up to donate £10 per month to the NDCS (National Deaf Childrens Society). All went well for 6 months. Then the evening phone calls started to try to get an increase in our donation. This is to a TPS phone listed number. The woman on the phone had to tell us that she worked for a marketing company and the marketing company was being paid by the NDCS. So to sum up, our donations were used, not for deaf children, but for marketing to try to gain extra funding! Disgusted, we cancelled our donations.

#  I’ve just received a letter from the Cat’s Protection League asking me to set up a direct debit. With the letter came some lovely gifts, a bookmark, magnet photo, notelets and envelopes, a pen and a notebook. I adore cats and animals and hate the suffering some of them go through and after receiving these gifts, I feel quite guilty that I can’t afford to give anything. I have a feeling that’s exactly how they want me to feel.

#  I have had to threaten legal action to stop harassment from UNICEF, Oxfam & Macmillan cancer support in the last year alone. I made one-off donations to them by SMS, they then took it upon themselves to start calling (several times a day in some cases) pushing for more. Sadly for those who benefit from these particular charities they will not get a penny more from me as there are plenty more charities who don’t resort to this and need all the help they can get.

#  Red Cross used to call me twice a month to ask me to give more money than I was giving .I once listened to what they had to say and got really angry, I give money when and to who I want and as much as I can, I am struggling to pay my rent, so they should be happy I am still supporting two charities, if I had more money I would give more, but that’s finally a personal decision. I told them I would cancel my direct debit and they stopped calling me.

#  I donated to Sense last Christmas and will never do it again, I was inundated with phone calls for weeks afterwards, in the end I demanded they remove me from their calling list otherwise I was reporting them. Friends i’ve spoken to have had similar experiences after donating to various charities. It is such a shame as people clearly want to support them!

#  I filled in a survey from the Dorset Police Crime commissioner researching how in touch he is with rural communities, when I completed it I was directed to a charity web site. If the Police crime commissioners are supporting this and the hounding of pensioners for charity what hope is there. On complaining I got an email saying thanks for pointing it out, not even sorry.

#  Add the RSPCA to the list. Two men called on my recently widowed elderly mother and she let them in and signed up to a direct debit monthly payment that she cannot afford. I rang the RSPCA and the firm they employ (at a cost of £ 5m) to cancel this and ‘give them my thoughts’. I told them my mother has two stickers in her window saying ‘no cold callers’ and was asked if it said ‘or charities’ on it as they will still knock on the door if the sticker doesn’t state no charities. I argued a cold call is a cold call whoever it is and that they were trying to find a loop hole. We’re doing our best to keep my mum in her own home and keep her safe, these people should not be allowed to call at houses like this.

#  I have a problem with many charities. DEC in particular. Months after a disaster this charity still has millions and the disaster has not been dealt with. Oxfam is another.

#  The British Red Cross were the worst in my experience I gave regular sums to them Although I am a pensioner but they almost hounded me A female was on the phone one day virtually insisting that instead of making irregular donations I gave them a standing order or direct debit and she would not take no for an answer I put the phone down and then and there decided ALL YES ALL Charity requests were binned and I have stuck to that threat

#  This is where the money goes to pay this lot.. Sir Nick Young, the chief executive of the British Red Cross, saw his pay jump by 12 per cent to £184,000 since 2010 Others in the same pay bracket included Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, a former adviser to both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when they were Prime Minister. The charity said Mr Forsyth received £163,000 last year, just less than Anabel Hoult, its chief operating officer, who was paid £168,653. The top paid executive at Christian Aid was Loretta Minghella, a former chief executive of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, who was paid £126,072 this year, up from £123,729 last year and £119,123 the previous year.

#  We had some cold calling representing Barnardos last week they came up the road like a pack of hungry wolves, I no longer give to these charities as I find their behaviour deplorable.

#  I was hounded by WWF when I set up a year’s donation as a birthday present. Every chance they got they asked for more and more, calling me over and over. I asked to be removed from the list and cancelled my donation once the year was up. Now I support my local charity shops, it’s nice to get to know the volunteers working the shop floors who are the real heroes – not the fat cats and agencies. It also means I donate still, but do so anonymously.

#  I had a very rude young man knocking on my door few weeks ago from Anthony Nolan charity. He didn’t want to leave saying things to me like “you really can’t afford £2 a week” “you next door 90yr old neighbour can” etc…

#  Watched RSPB* chuggers at work in Greenwich – they have no shame – obviously targeting young woman and the elderly. Such tactics backfire once I am aware of a charity doing this I cease to give them money. Equally odious is the sponsored holidays/climbs up mountains etc. The Salvation Army are one of the few organisation that see your money spent on those in need rather than siphoning off a good proportion on marketing and other fees.

* Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds

# In Manila, the director of UNICEF lives in a home grander and with more servants than the Filipino president.

#  Please add charity shops like Barnardos and Oxfam to the list. The prices they charge now make it obvious they are a big, professionally run business. In towns across the UK they are everywhere. They succeed while other shops go under as their staff are volunteers or are doing community service, their stock costs them nothing and they are given massive discounts in shop rent and rates and also pay zero tax!

#  I had a rude girl from Breakthrough call me I said sorry I’m at work I can’t talk now but she just kept talking so I said excuse me I said I’m at work she shouted down the phone at me and said Yeah well so am i!! So I hung up.

#  Terry Wogan took his fee.

#  I stopped payments to Crisis after having an operation,when my income was reduced to less than £320/month.A few days later I received a letter saying that I am a bit odd and rude signed by their fundraising manager. I would really like to know how much is he paid to write me such a letter?

#  Google this article and it will change your mind… “Why is Children In Need sitting on a £90million fortune? Charity stashes sum away in investment portfolio instead of handing it out”.

#  As a person who has had cancer and turned to Macmillan at the time for support, their treatment of me was despicable. I hoped in my heart mine was a rare case. Thankfully I pulled through and life is wonderful again but I’ll never forget the supercilious, disgraceful Macmillion (sic on purpose) ‘representative’ who added to my distress at the time.

Some of the good ones?

#  I only contribute to the RNLI, I give them £10 a month, they never phone me they never badger me and they send me a magazine twice a year. They may ask me to sell a few raffle tickets at Christmas but that’s all. I can follow RNLI on Facebook and so I know exactly where my donations go. I will never ever donate to the British Red Cross after I was given abuse by one of their aggressive ‘salesmen’ in the City centre once.

#  I’ll make this very easy for them to understand. I will not give to charities any more except the RNLI. I will give instead to individuals who I see having a hard time in life and buy food. That’s end…they’ve ruined it for their charities and the people they were supposed to be helping before they got greedy


#  A letter in the Times in 2010, revealed that there were 28 members of the RNLI’s staff paid between £60k and £80k and 12 between £80k and £140k

A very good Charity that will accept one off donations and not bother you again afterwards is the Smile Train which does corrective surgery in the developing world for children with hare lips and cleft palates. The surgeons donate their time and expertise so the overheads are minimal.


#  Just giving takes 6% of your donation as a fee for their own pockets either through the gift aid fee, or directly from the money donated…. everyone skims off the top so a charity never gets 100% of the donation Its all a scam.

#  I donated at Christmas to The Salvation Army and received a fantastic letter thanking me and letting me know it “wasn’t their style” to bother me in any way if I didn’t want updates from them. They said they just like to get on with their work. Priceless and gets my support every year.

Charities should pay TAX like all businesses, the most Charities pay their directors six figure salaries. Its so wrong its so abused. The Salvation Army are the only ones I would trust.

I took a pile of old blankets and towels (all clean) down to the Cheshire Dogs Home last week, where they were very gratefully received. It’s not all about giving money.

And so

Obviously I can’t urge you to boycott any of the above, as that might be breaking some law but I can tell you what I’m doing.

1.  I do not have the phone connected for incoming.  If I need to call out, I connect for the duration.  End of cold calling.

2.  I use no mobile.

3.  Anyone can get to me via email.  If it’s worthy, I call back or write back almost immediately – usually no longer than half a day.  I do not leave Skype on but come in if we have prearranged a call.

4.  I’ll read through the names above again and the egregious get put on The Directory, which I carry with me when I go out.  Any charity wanting money – check the list first.  Not a great system but the only one I have at this time.

13 comments for “The boycotting of charities

  1. July 8, 2015 at 6:54 am

    I so, so agree. I used to contribute to a select few, especially the RNLI, mainly because of my former conections with the British Merchant Navy; but no longer. I will not fund the inflated salaries of the senior executives whose knowledge of the sea, and its dangers, is confined to buying a DVD of The Cruel Sea.

  2. July 8, 2015 at 7:48 am

    I have no landline and my mobile phone number is very rarely used, I don’t have Skype on either and like you I only go into it if I have a pre arranged call.
    As I have mentioned before I don’t give to charities any more I learnt my lesson a long time ago with Age Concern, who by the by are appallingly for harassment and ramped up cold calling pressure sales.
    Every time I am in the city, which is awash with youffs with clip boards wearing bright t-shirts wanting money for some charity or other chasing people up the street, I employ my slalom tactic (Franz Klammer would be proud) and if I ever get caught in a pincer movement, when two or more descend on me (which can happen) I just ignore and keep walking , sure I have had rude comments yelled at me, but I just ignore it, after all, all they are doing is showing other potential targets exactly what they are like. I give to one charity only, once a year (I can afford no more than that) and that is the Poppy Appeal , after all my son serves and may need them one day and the RBL do fantastic work with ex forces. Other than that the meaning of charity has died and I will not condone nor partake in racketeering.

  3. July 8, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Of all the charities, for me with a boat, the RNLI is the one I would support. Don’t make much money these days but would put in £5 a week if I knew it was going to equipment and the men and women who man/woman it.

    If only I could be sure of that, no compunction. But how to bypass chairman salaries and other fatcat pay to get the money to the right people? Visit them personally and distribute?

    • July 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm

      My family and I always did a lot for the RNLI but it became a bit grabby and dissatisfied with hard work and efforts of people who do have other jobs, they did not seem to understand people collected on their own time as a way to help them. Having lived in coastal towns for 99% of my life the RNLI plays a vital role, but they now have the same hierarchy as the others and that killed it for me and members of my family.

  4. Penseivat
    July 8, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Each year, I choose 3 charities to support during that year, mainly local charities and a hospice. After (foolishly?) making a donation following the Nepal televised appeal, I became inundated with cold callers from that and other charities – I later learned my phone number was sold on. Now, I explain my charity programme, add that the phone call is being recorded, that I consider their call constitutes harassment after being asked not to call. Further to this, it is assumed that the caller is acting with the implied knowledge and permission of the area manager of that charity and that any further calls will result in a complaint being made to the charity commissioners, an allegation of harassment made to my local Police force and that I doubt the area manager would appreciate having meetings interrupted by two of the County’s finest giving him (or her) a warning under the Prevention of Harassment Act. The result is no calls from so called charities over the past couple of months. As far as the chuggers are concerned, I ask them how much the CEO is paid and how much the Government grant was to that charity. They can’t answer and I walk away.

  5. July 8, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Listening to the CEO of Oxfam on the BBC this a.m., and, believe it or not, she was actually defending the right of chuggers, con-men and charity-grabbers to actively solicit money from people with Dementia.

    She said, and I think I quote acurrately, “It is a fine line, but we know that the people on the phones are well-trained, and work to a set script.”

    So, just cross OXFAM off of any list you may still hold, as she considers people who are not of sound mind as fair targets!

    Do these people with their huge salaries, perks and pensions live in the same galaxy as the rest of us?

    • July 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm

      She also said ‘we listen’ to calls to monitor them – then went on to explain that the organisation sent them recordings of sample calls for the purpose.

      She didn’t say how those calls were selected or by whom; presumably if your goose is laying golden eggs, you aren’t going to look too closely at the farmyard muck.

  6. john in cheshire
    July 8, 2015 at 11:57 am

    James, for me I give to the Salvation Army and Barnabas Fund but not by regular payments. Otherwise phone calls are terminated with no discussion and emails are deleted. I’m past feeling guilty because the so called charities are too tainted and corrupted; they no longer function as their name might imply. Also, the majority if charities are fake in that they are in receipt of taxpayers money so by asking individuals for contributions, they are effectively asking them to pay twice. The laws relating to charities needs to be changed, especially with regard to business rates, rentals of high street premises and access to taxpayers money.

  7. mike fowle
    July 8, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    I used to donate to selected charities through the Charities Aid Foundation. I paid them a standing order and nominated various charities. I simply refused any others. WWF is particularly toxic – it uses the Brits passion for animals to fund its climate change agenda. A very influential and dangerous organisation.

  8. Bunny
    July 8, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I like Cheshire Dogs Home, I got my elderly rescue lurcher from there.

  9. July 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    I suspect the problem with charities, as in so many other fields, is the assumption that a) they have to offer salaries comparable with industry (ignoring the fact that there are people out there who are motivated by the charitable aims, not the pay package) and b) managers are infinitely transferable, from frozen food to child protection via public transport, their worth to the organisation being demonstrated by their latest salary package.

  10. Judd
    July 9, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Don’t answer the phone to a number you don’t recognise, or if you do just take it off the hook place it by the phone and go and make a cup of tea.
    Caller Display well worth the small, if any, cost on your landline.

    Never had a call from charities or their sales centre, mind you SWMBO can get rid of unwanted calls (or door callers) in seconds whomever they might be so it’s entirely possible she’s dealt with them many times.

  11. Furor Teutonicus
    July 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I suspect I am on some kind of black list. These bastards never approach me on the street. 🙁

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