"Unhelpful comments" made over the weekend about door-to-door and telephone fundraising have undermined the work of fundraisers, Richard Taylor, chair of the Institute of Fundraising, has said.
Opening the annual IoF convention in London this morning, Taylor, who is also director of fundraising, marketing and communications at Macmillan Cancer Support, appeared to refer to an interview given by Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, to The Sunday Times newspaper yesterday, in which he said he tells doorstep fundraisers who knock on his front door to "bugger off".
Talking about charity fundraising, Grade was also quoted as saying: "I can’t tell you how many phone calls or texts I get. I always send them a text back saying: ‘I am a leading QC at the criminal bar and I am putting you on notice. Please accept this text as a letter before action. I mean to pursue this case to the High Court if necessary.’"
He said the technique meant he never received a second text.
Taylor told delegates at the convention this morning that the media scrutiny of charities had been relentless over the past year.
"Even this weekend, unhelpful comments about door-to-door and telemarketing undermine our work and undervalue how hard it is to raise money for essential services," he said.
Asked by Third Sector if he was referring to Grade in his speech, Taylor refused to deny this. But he said: "I don’t want to personalise things."
Taylor said the reason the IoF had not been as forceful at defending fundraising in the public arena as some would have liked over the past year was that he felt the best way to protect the self-regulation of fundraising was to "work with key opinion leaders and not get into public spats".
He said the government had frequently threatened to withdraw the sector’s right to regulate itself and that the IoF had felt compelled to protect it because it was the best option for donors, charities and beneficiaries.
He added: "I’ve been incredibly impressed by the way you in the fundraising community in the UK have responded with passion and pride and resilience to all the challenges and changes happening around us."