Charities must treat their face-to-face fundraisers better, delegates at the Institute of Fundraising’s Face to Face Fundraising 2011 conference heard yesterday.
Speaking during a panel session on managing the public perception of face-to-face fundraising, the fundraising consultant Giles Pegram said: "We should treat them as part of the family that is our charity. At the moment we treat them as a kind of resource we buy off the shelf.
"We need to get more down and dirty with our face-to-face fundraisers because they are really valuable to us."
Daryl Upsall, chief executive of Daryl Upsall Consulting International, said he had spoken about face-to-face fundraising in a number of countries and was "quite ashamed" about the negativity around it from the public in England.
He said charities should speak up more about the fundraising method. "The biggest problem is that we’re not being proactive enough in promoting face-to-face," he said.
Michael Naidu, assistant director of fundraising at Mencap and acting chair of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, said work needed to be done in charities to help other teams, such as communications, to understand the benefits of face-to-face fundraising.
He said this could be done by highlighting the link between fundraising and the difference the money made to the charity’s work.
"If we can make our fundraising more tangible, then our communications department would be more willing to put that message out," he said.
Ian MacQuillin, head of communications at the PFRA, said face-to-face fundraising was being marginalised.
"We need to look at face-to-face fundraising in the context of all fundraising," he said. "There’s a lack of professional pride being shown in this."