I WORK from home these days which means among other things that I’m a target for large numbers of nuisance phone calls on everything from being urged to buy Stanna stairlifts to questions about my lifestyle from men called Roger.

These are mostly minor irritants but what does actually unsettle me is the number of calls from charities. Some of them are household names, some are very small charities and some are charities I already support but who would like me to increase my regular donation.

The real problem is the effect they have on the individual. I feel guilty if I’m unable to support them or give more, largely because by then the script has kicked in and they have informed me about their latest life-saving research or the annual fatality figures, Third World poverty or animal cruelty.

Because we feel strongly enough in the first place to give to these charities, it’s particularly difficult to turn their requests down. However, it’s just not possible to donate all the kinds of sums being demanded – even very politely and professionally – as finances just don’t allow.

You find yourself having to make excuses as to why you can’t give a donation or increase an existing one. It’s all slightly embarrassing, made worse by the fact that I really do understand their predicament. If they don’t get regular cash from the public they just can’t carry on their work.

Now, hopefully, this situation will change, thanks to new rules on nuisance calls which mean the Fundraising Regulator can fine charities up to £25,000 if they don’t comply.

Lord Grade, head of the Fundraising Regulator, said last week that some charities still believe the ends justifies the means. In other words, they don’t think these are nuisance calls because they need the public to respond. He says some charities have been slow to reform their methods, in spite of adverse publicity.

An organisation of a group of experts called the Commission on the Donor Experience believes that charity donors should have complete control over the types of begging letters they’re sent and should also choose how often they want to hear from charities.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain. If charities don’t get their approach to the public exactly right, they’ll not only be out of pocket from lack of donations but from fines. And bang goes all the goodwill as well.