Citizens Advice turns to public for cash help

Mathew Little

Citizens Advice has launched its first public fundraising campaign to counteract the increasing difficulty in securing state funding for core costs (Third Sector, 18 June).

The campaign, which includes a mailing to 75,000 people, 250,000 inserts in the local press and leaflets in bureaux, aims to boost unrestricted income. Research conducted by polling agency Mori has found "potentially huge unmet demand" for free independent advice to the general public.

But most funding for bureaux from traditional sources such as local authorities and central government is for specific projects.

"Securing unallocated funds is a tough job," said Citizens Advice associate director of fundraising Felicity Chadwick. "And the general public is the biggest source of untapped unrestricted income."

She said income from the campaign would be used to fund core generalist advice to the public.

The campaign will highlight how Citizens Advice Bureaux are different from other charities in that they help to solve problems which, left unchecked, could ripen into crises. Straplines in the campaign include: "We're not here to pick up the pieces of her life. We're here to stop it falling apart in the first place"; and "We don't provide housing. We prevent homelessness".

Initial targets have been set to attract more than 4,000 volunteer inquiries, 1,000 cash donors and 2,500 direct debits.

The campaign will launch in Citizens Advice Bureaux in eight areas and be rolled out to the rest next year if successful.

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