Doorstep and telephone fundraising deemed 'very annoying' by almost half of survey respondents

Doorstep fundraising: one of the least popular methods
Doorstep fundraising: one of the least popular methods

Almost half of people say they find it "very annoying" to be asked to give charitable donations on the doorstep or over the telephone, but that proportion has fallen slightly over the past year, according to new research.

According to a survey of 1,000 adults by the research consultancy nfpSynergy, carried out in January, 48 per cent said doorstep fundraising was "very annoying". The same proportion chose the same response when asked about telephone fundraising.

When the same survey was carried out in November 2013, 54 per cent of respondents said they were very annoyed by doorstep fundraising; 51 per cent said the same of telephone fundraising.

Survey participants were presented with a list of 11 different fundraising techniques, including telephone, doorstep and television adverts, and asked to choose one from a list of six different statements summing up how they best felt about each technique, plus one indicating they were not sure.

These statements included "I am contacted too often by charities in this way", "I am happy to be asked to donate in this way" and "I understand it is an effective way of raising funds".

Thirty-five per cent of those surveyed said they found face-to-face fundraisers very annoying; 28 per cent said the same of being asked to donate by text message.

Radio adverts were found very annoying by the lowest proportion – 9 per cent – closely followed by cash collections on 10 per cent.

Television advertisements were declared an effective way of fundraising by the highest proportion of respondents – 38 per cent. Adverts or leaflets in newspapers and magazines was the next category on 35 per cent.

People were also asked how they preferred to be asked to donate. Cash collections/collecting tins and television adverts came out top on at 28 per cent and 26 per cent respectively, although the third most-selected answer was "none of the above" on 25 per cent.

Only 2 per cent said they preferred to be asked to donate by telephone. At the doorstep was chosen by 3 per cent of respondents, level with being asked to donate via a text on a mobile phone – these were the next two low scores.

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said the data was another sobering reminder of the irritation fundraising could cause and that it had become too tempting for charities to chase the extra pound without worrying about the long-term damage.

But he added: "The good news is that it is possible to change how people see fundraising. A decade ago, street collections were widely despised, but now a fifth of people understand that they’re effective, even if they don’t really like them.

"Charities simply must listen to donors and the public, because ignoring today’s irritation only makes it more difficult to raise funds tomorrow."

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