Sector is 'bad at asking for cash'

Funding the Future report says charities need to up their game when it comes to asking for money

Good example: Children in Need
Good example: Children in Need

Many charities are bad at asking for money and a £10m sector-wide campaign is needed to help them get better at it, according to Funding the Future.

It says that fundraisers are often seen as a "necessary evil" and an "alien species", and that they, along with communications staff, trustees and chief executives, all need to get better at asking for donations.

The campaign, called Better Asking, should be led by a small executive body that would include philanthropists, the report says. Individual charities and umbrella bodies should also be involved.

The aim, says Funding the Future, would be to increase individual giving from £11.3bn in 2008/09 to £20bn in 2020. The £10m to run the campaign should come from the commercial sector with matched funding from the government.

The report praises good examples, such as the 2009 Children in Need appeal, which it says made excellent use of social media to raise funds.

Fiona Ellis, chair of the Funding Commission, said the new campaign would recommend improvements, rather than the commission. "Our role is to tell charities where they're going wrong," she said.

"Perhaps it's a British trait, but fundraisers are shy when it comes to asking for money. They don't ask for a long time, and then they ask badly."

Some charities also failed to take care of their donors properly, Ellis said: "Research tells us that some donors feel used. We either treat all donors alike, or we segment them, then bombard some of them.

"Most people didn't come into the sector to be fundraisers; they came to provide services, because they want to be helping people. But if you want to help people, you have to fundraise."

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