Public feels charity fundraising has become less persistent, research indicates

Surveys by the consultancy nfpSynergy show that the proportion of people who say intrusive fundraising was a major barrier to giving has fallen since January last year

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Fundraising by charities was seen by the public as less persistent and intrusive this summer than it was at the beginning of 2015, according to new research by the consultancy nfpSynergy.

According to research carried out among 1,000 UK adults, the percentage of respondents who said intrusive fundraising was one of the biggest barriers to charitable giving fell from 36 per cent in January 2015 to 28 per cent in July this year.

The percentage who felt that over-persistent fundraisers were the biggest barrier to giving also fell, from 45 per cent to 35 per cent.

The survey found that the older generations were more likely than younger people to see the persistence of fundraisers as a barrier to giving, with 47 per cent of 55 to 64-year-olds and 44 per cent of over-65s citing it as a problem.

The biggest barrier to donating to charity mentioned in the survey was too little money going to the cause, which was cited by more than half of all respondents.

The amount spent on staff salaries came second in the survey, with 43 per cent of respondents in July 2016 seeing it as one of the biggest barriers to charitable giving.

Bad publicity about a charity, a lack of clarity on how donations were spent, a lack of knowledge about the charity and what it did, and funds being spent on big campaigns or advertising were also named in the survey as among the principal barriers to giving.

Conversely, 56 per cent of respondents said how a charity spent its donations was one of the biggest reasons for giving to charity.

Learning about the impact a charity had had, positive stories in the media and case studies about individuals a charity had helped were also popular reasons for donating to charity, according to the survey.

The results span a period ranging from before the negative coverage of charity fundraising that began last year until after the introduction of the Fundraising Regulator

Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said: "These research results suggest that fundraising has already significantly changed since the Olive Cooke affair and all that followed.

"The most likely reason for this is that far less mass fundraising is now taking place, partly due to the demise of so many outsourced fundraising agencies and partly because charities are being far more cautious with the activities they carry out.

"Only time will tell what the impact on funds raised by charities will be. It’s worth remembering that this drop in irritation comes before any impact of the new Fundraising Regulator or any changes in codes of practice."

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