ESRC refuses to budge over charity fundraising research

Funder will not change guidelines despite calls from experts

The Economic and Social Research Council has declined to change its funding guidelines to make it easier for fundraising research projects to access £600,000 of government funding.

In a letter to the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association seen by Third Sector, Dr Astrid Wissenburg, director of communications at the ESRC, says calls to change the way the body allocated funds were based on an "inaccurate premise".

Earlier this year Adrian Sargeant, fundraising professor at Indiana University in the US, called for the ESRC to give some of a £2.2m research grant from the Office of the Third Sector to work that would produce practical advice for fundraisers.

Projects being funded so far include research into how donors and firms decide which charities to back.

In the letter, Wissenburg says the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at the Cass Business School in London, which the ESRC funds, already conducted research that benefited fundraisers. "We have no reason to change our funding guidelines," it says.

Mick Aldridge, chief executive of the PFRA, said he did not believe the bulk of the research addressed the "day-to-day information needs of fundraising professionals".

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