Charities should aim to generate at least 3,000 complaints in fundraising campaigns in order to make more impact, delegates heard yesterday.
The fundraising consultant Ken Burnett told an Institute of Fundraising National Convention audience: "The more complaints we have, the more impact. Complainers care. We should be looking for 3,000 complaints or even more."
Burnett also said fundraising today was "a deeply shallow profession".
Fundraisers were using more and more "daft statements", he said. For example, he said, they sometimes admitted a campaign had failed to bring in money, but argued it had succeeded because it had raised awareness.
Burnett said fundraisers also needed to have better conversations with donors and should have zero tolerance of poor donor service.
"The stupidest question in fundraising is asking what level of donor service we should provide," he said. "The answer should be 'what we would want if we were a donor?'"
Speaking at the same session, the fundraising consultant Giles Pegram urged charities to invest money in acquiring new donors.
He said charities investing £1m in the bond market would earn an extra £300,000 after 10 years, but if they spent £1m on new donor acquisition they would break even after about 18 months and would have made almost £3m after 10 years.
See our round-up of news and views from this year's convention