VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Charities are taking over the sidewalks of Metro Vancouver to get your dollar.

An SFU marketing professor says it can be an effective strategy because of increased competition. However, it can backfire if fundraisers get too aggressive.

Lindsay Meredith says the growth in the number of street level solicitors could be due to the increase in competition.

“Historically, if we went back 30 or 40 years, you’d see one, two, three of maybe 10 really dominant charities.  Today, in Canada we have well over 20,000 registered charities. It means we have way more charities trying to chase way fewer bucks,” says Meredith.
And he says these non-profits are not calling you at home like they used just to get your dollar.    

“The old way of doing it is not working very well.  Maybe the new technique is showing some greater level of success, so when times are tough, when you’re up against  a lot of charities you try to use any technique that might be effective for you.”

He says the street level soliciting can sometimes come off as a little pushy, and if that’s the case it’ll do more harm than good.  It has the potential to backfire.
“If you actually inundate them and annoy them, you’re not only not getting anything out of them you’re actually hurting your cause,” argues Meredith.

In London, the local government is considering banning these fundraisers because many in that city are too aggressive.  

So, what are they like in Metro Vancouver?

The City of Vancouver says it hasn’t received any complaints about the solicitors. Also, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association isn’t getting negative feedback from its members.

But News1130 asked people on the street for their thoughts and a lot of people weren’t to thrilled by the tactic.
“I tend to ignore them most of the time they can be a little bit annoying,” says one man.
“They are talking to you right then and there, (and ask you) ‘okay do you have 10 or 15 minutes to devote to helping us out with this cause’, and ‘I’m like no, I’m on my way to the Skytrain and I obviously have something to do’,” explains another man.

“I feel bad for them because nobody cares about them, but I don’t mind them, they don’t bother me,” says one woman.

The city says there are 18 different charities which have the ten-dollar licenses to fundraise in Vancouver.
With the license, non-profit groups can have as many workers as possible as long as they let the city know.