v. To solicit donations and attempt other forms of fundraising while pretending to conduct market research.
Other protests come from the advertising research industry, which is furious about a venerable direct mail gimmick: cloaking a pitch as a survey, pretending that the purpose of a letter is to seek opinions rather than sell a product or raise funds. … 'What drives me crazy is sometimes these are organizations I'm a member of and believe in,' he added, referring to the fundraisers that sell under the guise of research. The foundation even has a name for such trickery, 'frugging.'
Although survey participation among the American public was at a record high of 42 percent last year, refusal rates were also at a record high of 36 percent, up from 15 percent in 1982. 'Sugging' and 'frugging,' selling and fund-raising under the guise of legitimate marketing research, are among the culprits, according to NFO Research.
Frug is an acronym that comes from the phrase fundraising under the guise of market research. I managed to date this word to 1991, and the earliest citation suggests that it's based on an existing verb, sug, "selling under the guise of market research" (which I traced back to the mid-80s).