The two leading self-regulatory organisations in fundraising have backed a campaign calling for the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy to do more practical research to benefit fundraisers.
The Economic and Social Research Council has so far awarded £1.5m to academics at the centre to research subjects such as institutionalised giving structures and whether charitable activity mitigates or reinforces social and economic inequalities.
The ESRC is due to allocate another £600,000 in January. Adrian Sargeant, of Bristol Business School and Indiana University, is campaigning for the money to be used to fund research on matters of concern to fundraisers, such as the decline in public trust and confidence in charities and donor loyalty.
The Fundraising Standards Board, which regulates fundraising, and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, which monitors face-to-face fundraising, this week agreed to support Sargeant. The PFRA will run the campaign.
"We are concerned that this research will be only of tangential use to fundraisers and will not help them in their day-to-day job," said Sargeant.
Mick Aldridge, chief executive of the PFRA, said the ESRC was "sitting on a sum of money that could radically increase the knowledge base available to fundraisers". Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said the centre's research "does not have fundraising research at its core".
The ESRC said the centre had the "capacity to adequately address the big challenges facing charitable giving and philanthropy in the UK, including the theme of fundraising".