Howard Lake | 21 July 2010 | News PFRA to use the word ‘chugger’ where appropriate After several years of choosing not to use the word ‘chugger’, the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) has, over the past six months or so, to use it in official communications. Indeed, it features prominently on the organisation’s redeveloped website’s section ‘Do you object to chuggers?’.‘Chugger’ is of course the pejorative portmanteau word for street fundraisers that elides ‘charity’ with ‘mugger’. It was coined in 2002 by journalist Keith Barker-Main, compiler of the ‘Say What: News Words About Town’ column in the Metro free newspaper. From the very beginning it was clearly intended to be a negative and insulting term, and many people still use it in speech and online with invective.For this reason the word is seen by many in the fundraising sector as “a contemptible slur on the integrity of hardworking people trying to do a difficult job for good causes”.However, research by the PFRA has found that the use of the word has now become much broader, with many people using it as shorthand for street fundraisers, without the original negative implications. A Google search in the UK for ‘chugger’ in a charity context reveals that, since its invention in 2002, use of the word increased only gradually for the first six years, and it is only since 2008 that it has become more widespread.Analysis of the use of the word on social networks has also revealed a shift in its usage. The PFRA has found a median of eight or nine daily uses of ‘chugger’ in a fundraising context, about 50% of which come through Twitter. However, only about a third of these are negative uses; the rest are classified as ‘neutral’. This includes purely descriptive usage such as “there were a lot of chuggers in town today”, or “my friend’s just got a job as a chugger”.Consequently, the PFRA has decided to use the word ‘where appropriate’ to help it engage with the public in the language that many of them use. Head of Communications Ian MacQuillin said: “Our view is that it matters less how people refer to street fundraisers; what’s more important is that they have a good understanding about how street fundraising operates and why charities use it.“With so many more people now using the word ‘chugger’, PFRA believes we will be fighting a losing battle if we maintain our prohibition on its use”.The PFRA found that ‘chugger’ is used primarily in London and the South East. They often have to explain the meaning of the word to licensing officials and town centre managers elsewhere.MacQuillin is clear though: “we will only use ‘chugger’ where we consider it appropriate, in response to and engaging with people who are using it as a descriptive, non-pejorative term. We will not be adopting ‘chugger’ as our default term for a street F2F fundraiser”.MacQuillin shared his thoughts on using the word ‘chugger’ with UK Fundraising earlier this month at the Institute of Fundraising’s National Convention:www.pfra.org.uk/publications_and_news/position_statements/ AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis1 78 total views, 3 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis1 Tagged with: face-to-face Individual giving PFRA About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving.