Results improve for charity doorstep fundraising

PFRA reports surge in number of donors recruited at home

Charities are increasingly turning to door-to-door fundraising because of a poor public perception of street fundraisers, the industry watchdog has suggested.

The latest figures from the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association show that the number of donors recruited by doorstep fundraisers rose sharply in the year to the end of March.

The organisation, which logs the details of every new donor acquired by its members, said the number of donors recruited by all forms of face-to-face activity had risen from 500,000 in the 12 months to the end of March 2008 to 580,000 in the past year.

It said the increase was down to greater use of door-to-door fundraising and predicted the figure would continue to rise in 2009.

Mick Aldridge, chief executive of the PFRA, said many charities were increasing their doorstep fundraising activity because it was seen as less aggressive than street fundraising and could help organisations target particular demographics.

"Fewer members of the public complain about door-to-door than street fundraising, possibly because they feel more in control if they are in their own homes," he said.

Organisations could be gearing up for when the rules governing door-to-door fundraising are relaxed next year, said Aldridge.

From 2010, small charities will no longer need a licence to carry out door-to-door fundraising and will be required only to inform local councils when and where they are operating.

The British Red Cross told Third Sector it had set itself a target of signing up more than twice as many new supporters as it recruited through doorstep fundraising two years ago.

And homelessness charity Shelter said it was creating an in-house team for door-to-door fundraising on top of using an external agency.

"The set-up costs of door-to-door tend to be higher than those of other fundraising channels," said Matt Goody, head of direct marketing at Shelter. "But attrition rates are lower because you can target the people least likely to cancel direct debits."

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