Debate: Should charities avoid fundraising areas that lead to lots of complaints?

The Fundraising Standards Board's annual report shows recorded complaints about most types of fundraising are rising


CAROLINE JUPE, senior events and community fundraising manager, RNID

The benefits of some fundraising activities far outweigh the level of complaints they get. Outdoor challenge events, for example, bring in millions of pounds. They're also an excellent tool for engaging a charity's existing audience and recruiting new supporters.

While people are participating in a challenge event they often become 'brand champions' for your cause. People who participate in RNID events are often younger than supporters who are recruited by direct mail or telephone fundraising.

For charities to interact with younger people there must be fundraising options that appeal to this market. It would be unwise to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to fundraising just to avoid complaints.


LISA MCCLENAGHANnational fundraising coordinator, Students for Kids International Projects

Activities that generate complaints should be avoided. The charitable aims of your organisation are not the be all and end all, so the wider impact of any activity you undertake should be considered first.

You must think carefully about whether you will aggravate and cause offence to people you are raising funds from, even if those funds allow you to have a positive impact on the lives of other people.

You might be defending or supporting the rights of a group of people through the fulfilment of your charity's objectives, but the people around you have just as much of a right not to be disturbed.

If you can achieve your fundraising targets without having to resort to tactics that are likely to cause complaints, then they should be pursued first.


DAVID STABLESchief executive, African Children's Educational Trust

I'd be disappointed to see fundraisers falling into the trap of not trying anything new for fear of offending the public.

How would they know what was likely to cause complaints without trying different things? And who measures levels of offence?

Fundraisers surely target different audiences, from teenage students to old age pensioners, and each group of people will have wildly different standards. What is offensive to one person might well be acceptable to another.

Come on, let the fundraisers run with whatever they want to do. Where will the innovation and vision be if we keep trying the same old tried-and-tested formulas?

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