When walking downtown in any large urban environment, one is likely to encounter a hopeful brace of face-to-face fundraisers, a.k.a. charity muggers or chuggers. One may recognize them by their colorful logo-emblazoned tabards and clipboards. One member of the team will accost passerby in the hopes of initiating a conversation. Opening gambits range from the prosaic ('Do you have a minute?') to the elaborate ('Do you know what's the single most important thing for life on Earth?'*). If you stop, you will then experience a high-pressure sales pitch designed to elicit your sympathy for the charity, and more importantly your banking and/or home contact information, which will then be followed up by phone in hopes of binding you to an ongoing financial commitment.

The experience of interacting—or more properly avoiding interacting—with the chugger is unpleasant for both practitioner and victim, yet they continue to work the streets. The fundraisers are salaried employees of a fundraising firm contracted to the charities whose colors they wear, typically for a large flat fee. The charities pay a lot for the service, but the conversion rate of contactees to regular monthly donors is higher than almost any other method of public outreach. This success more than compensates for the flashes of ill will on the street corner, and so we seem doomed to continue to experience this intrusive form of fundraising for the foreseeable future.

* The expected response is, of course, water. Responding 'electroweak interaction' whilst sailing on by has a good success rate in producing the few moments of stunned incomprehension required to effect a clean getaway.

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