Debate: Does face-to-face fundraising favour volume at the expense of quality?

Street fundraising sign-ups rose by 40 per cent in 2011, but a survey indicates 30 per cent never make a payment

Face-to-face fundraising
Face-to-face fundraising

Rupert Tappin, director and chief executive of face-to-face consultancy Future FundraisingRupert Tappin, director and chief executive of face-to-face consultancy Future Fundraising

Yes it does, but this has always been a problem with face-to-face fundraising. Charities often use agencies that recruit the maximum number of donors at the lowest possible price, but fail to realise that this does not always equate to quality donors who will commit to long-term giving. With the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association's Donor Attrition and Retention Survey benchmark in place, we now have a realistic standard to work with. Fundraisers have got to hold providers to account and focus on value, not just volume.

Andrew Cates, chief executive, SOS Children UKAndrew Cates, chief executive, SOS Children UK

Chugging in the UK goes against SOS Children's principles of treating donors with respect, including respect for their privacy while out on the streets. We are motivated by this principle, but there is also a pragmatic side to our decision not to use it. Invasive and disrespectful fundraising, such as some forms of junk mail or chugging, tends to have poor economic value for the donor: everyone talks about the economics for the charity, but the real issue is whether the donor's money is being used efficiently. These methods also have high cancellation rates.

Nick Henry, head of standards and allocations, Public Fundraising Regulatory AssociationNick Henry, head of standards and allocations, Public Fundraising Regulatory Association

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association's Donor Attrition and Retention Survey models a sector-wide attrition benchmark for street and doorstep fundraising and, as we've consistently reported for the past five years, attrition rates for the first year after a donor signs up come in at between 45 and 55 per cent. Does this show face-to-face delivers growth, not quality? Who knows? There is nothing to compare it with. Until there are equivalents of Dars for other fundraising methodologies, comparisons are meaningless.

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