Debate: Should charities employ their own chuggers instead of using agencies?

Third Sector, 9 February 2010

Debate: Should charities employ their own chuggers instead of using agencies?

Three experts give their views on whether in-house fundraising teams mean happier fundraisers and donors

XAVIER GUILLEN, donor recruitment manager, NSPCC - "In-house teams would be a waste of time and resources"

The NSPCC street fundraising campaigns typically run for about nine months of the year to tie in with our overall donor recruitment strategies.

If we used an in-house team we would be spending valuable time, resources and money recruiting, training and managing street fundraisers for a nine-month campaign, only to lose them through normal staff churn or when the campaign was complete.

Using an external agency registered with the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association ensures that the NSPCC benefits from the agency's expertise in the recruitment and training of fundraisers as well as the running of successful face-to-face campaigns. Our agency also ensures that all PFRA and Fundraising Standards Board guidelines are met.


TANYA ENGLISHexecutive director of fundraising and communications, St Mungo's - "Using an in-house model enables us to invest in training"

We've been running in-house street and door-to-door donor recruitment teams for just over a year.

We manage all aspects of the programme ourselves, including the recruitment and training of all fundraising staff.

Using an in-house model enables us to invest in training our staff to a high standard, which we believe helps ensure that we are able to attract genuinely committed donors.

Each in-house fundraiser has regular, direct contact with the organisation, visits our projects and talks with our homeless clients, which we know gives a deeper understanding of St Mungo's work overall. This definitely assists us in retaining our fundraisers.


NICK HENRYhead of standards, Public Fundraising Regulatory Association - "In-house can provide better quality donors"

Of the PFRA's 100 or so charity members, eight run in-house teams. Most of these teams have some agency input as well, and some also use a combination of in-house and agency teams.

The main reasons charities have gone in-house have been to control costs and benchmark against agencies. There's some evidence for the view that in-house can provide better quality donors who cancel less often, although figures are inconclusive.

Fundraising managers should know how to plan for the long term. They'll consider variables, such as longevity and lower attrition of donors recruited in-house against the costs of running an in-house team. Then they'll estimate which option brings in the highest overall net income.


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