Personal Telephone Fundraising closes with loss of 32 jobs

The fundraising agency was hit by a 70 per cent fall in business and was 'unable to continue to trade in an effective manner'

PTF: ceased trading
PTF: ceased trading

The fundraising agency Personal Telephone Fundraising has ceased trading with the loss of 32 jobs after a 70 per cent fall in business, which the company attributed mainly to changes in the sector that affected its forward planning.

Jane Cunningham, chief executive of the Brighton-based agency, told Third Sector that PTF had "always been known for its high-quality fundraising" and had not been specifically implicated in the media reports of negative fundraising practices from last year, but the company was "unable to continue to trade in an effective manner".

She said: "The dramatic change in our ability to do business meant that our overheads greatly exceeded the revenue that could be generated from the ability of our clients to fundraise.

"While employees worked hard to change that situation, restructuring the business and implementing strategies to achieve compliant opt-in in preparation for clients returning to fundraising, we could not at that time have anticipated how slow and faltering an uptake in client activity it would be."

The agency’s website says it employed 150 permanent staff and worked with more than 30 charity clients.

Cunningham said changes in the sector "inhibited forward planning" and meant some campaigns from clients did not turn up as expected or at all.

She said that having sent staff home for a second week in February when work "had not materialised as had been promised", the PTF board decided to close the agency.

She said the agency wanted to do this while still able to pay staff wages and prevent debt being incurred.

PTF was one of the few telephone fundraising agencies for the charity sector that employed all their fundraisers on permanent contracts, above the living wage and with no commission, according to Cunningham.

In its abbreviated accounts for the year ending 31 March 2015, PTF had net assets of £600,556.

In a joint statement, the Institute of Fundraising and the Public Fundraising Association said: "It is regrettable that a long-standing fundraising agency that has partnered with many charities over the years has ceased trading. We recognise that this is a very difficult period for many fundraising organisations that play an important role raising vital funds for good causes."

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