Instead of giving money directly to people begging on the street, which rarely solves addiction, work or budgeting issues in people’s lives, the Council is asking the public to give their spare change or online funds to services that can help people.
Donations can be made by downloading an app on a smartphone – the amount received so far via Pushpay (the online payment site) is $452, with the average amount donated at $20.
The campaign is a partnership between Wellington City Council, the Police and organisations that support the city's vulnerable residents by providing basic needs such as food, clothing or transport, including Downtown Community Ministry, Catacombs, Wellington City Mission, Wellington Night Shelter and The Soup Kitchen.
These services also help to provide sustainable solutions, such as getting a good place to live or access to healthcare. "These excellent organisations fully support this campaign," says Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, adding that the campaign has enjoyed a modestly successful start.
"The response rate for a campaign using this kind of technology is positive. Wellingtonians are embracing a new way to give to people in need, through the organisations that support them."
Councillor Stephanie Cook says the campaign has got people talking about the issues around begging in Wellington and what they can do to help.
"I’d like to encourage more Wellingtonians to give what they feel comfortable with –we’re hoping the campaign will generate a lot more long-term donations to these support services."
"Wellington City Council is taking a positive and innovative approach to this issue, rather than a ban," says the Mayor. "Wellingtonians now have another choice about how to help the more vulnerable without further encouraging a culture of begging."
Donations can also be made from the Council’s website at Wellngton.govt.nz/alternativegiving
In the two weeks to July 15:
- Total donations through Pushpay - $452 (total includes all six charities and the Alternative Giving Fund listing)
- Total number of transactions - 22
- Average transaction value - $20.55
- Campaign QR code scans - 58
- Campaign txt 'change' to 5888 - 47
- Total mobi-site visits - 150
- Average visitor duration on Mobi-site - 47 sec
- YouTube video views - 291 (to date)
- 14.6% of mobi-site visitors have donated (average amount $20.55)