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Views on: The transparency 'trap', direct debits and the doorstop preference service

Street direct debits: less lucrative?
Street direct debits: less lucrative?

Avoid the transparency trap, warns Acevo head

It is inappropriate for charities to declare information such as chief executive pay and political affiliations in their annual accounts, according to Sir Stephen Bubb, head of the charity chief executives body Acevo. Speaking at an Institute of Fundraising event, Bubb said the sector was at risk of getting stuck in the "transparency trap" and was becoming timid in the face of its enemy. On chief executive pay, he said, the sector should be "robust around what we do and not adopt the accountancy approach".

Commenting on ThirdSector.co.uk, Catherine Demetriadi said: "After charities have met their statutory obligations, what they should then reveal must be like good journalism: decide what information is important, tell the unvarnished truth about it and then say why it is important. Information alone is never of any use unless it is placed in context."

James Kirkland said: "Self-interested bodies like Acevo aren't well placed to make the case; it must be made by vocal trustees who genuinely understand why they pay the salaries they do."

Angus304 said: "Transparency is essential in the third sector, because many charities are operating in a not dissimilar way to large businesses. I am not against charities as a whole, but I think the third sector has got out of hand."

Direct debits 'do better if done on own initiative'

Donations through direct debits that are set up on the donor's own initiative are on average much higher than those solicited by street fundraisers, according to a report from the market intelligence company Mintel.

The report, based on consumer research conducted with a sample of 2,000 internet users, said that the average donation from a direct debit set up on someone's own initiative was £67 over three months, but the average for those set up after solicitation by street fundraisers was £44 over the same period. The report attributed the difference in value to the "widespread annoyance" it said street fundraisers cause to people.

Stephen Pidgeon commented: "What rubbish - people wouldn't sign up on the street if they didn't believe that doing so would somehow change the world. The explanation might be that street recruits are younger, so they have less money."

Linds said: "What this also doesn't tell us is how many people sign up with street fundraisers compared with how many people sign up of their own accord. If it's twice as many, that £44 per quarter per person already outdoes the £67 per person."

FRSB suggests 'doorstep preference service'

The Fundraising Standards Board has put forward the idea of a "doorstep preference service", similar to the existing Telephone Preference Service. The suggestion was made in an FRSB adjudication that rejected a complaint from someone who received a visit from a doorstep fundraiser for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home despite displaying a "no cold calling" sign on their property.

David Hicks commented: "Why should charities consider their calls are any less unwelcome than those of other salesman? Ignoring such signs can do the sector's reputation no good at all, and could be seen as arrogance. The FRSB should clarify the industry position on this, and in the meantime charities should stop using the lack of guidance as a loophole to justify anti-social behaviour."

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