Debate: Should charities be more vocal in defending face-to-face fundraising?

The PFRA was disappointed by the unwillingness of many to defend face-to-face on a recent Newsnight programme

PFRA
PFRA

MATTHEW SHERRINGTON - managing director at communications consultancy The Good Agency

Matthew Sherrington, The Good AgencyWhen it comes to responding to bad press, 'stop digging when you're in a hole' is a good principle. The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association is feeling bruised, there is a rumpus in the sector, but ultimately few cancellations have been reported.

Fighting now for face-to-face misses the point. Charities need people to be inspired, to hear about the great things they achieve by giving - not exposed to a dissection of fundraising costs. The ridiculous scrutiny of ratios to measure effectiveness of fundraising has forced charities to compete in persuading people they can change the world on a shoestring and raise money for nothing.

It's the effectiveness of the whole sector you have to stand up for. Don't leave it to the PFRA.

JAYNE GEORGE - director of fundraising at Guide Dogs

Jayne George, Guide DogsWe should speak out more to defend face-to-face fundraising because it provides an indisputable and substantial return on investment for charities.

Guide Dogs has a duty to provide value for money for our supporters and therefore looks carefully at the business case for employing external fundraisers before a campaign begins. Face-to-face fundraising is a cost-effective means of recruiting committed donors.

At Guide Dogs, our tender process for selecting outside agencies is robust, taking into account references, pricing, quality of service, processes and procedures, professionalism and corporate social responsibility. This gives us confidence and allows us to be robust in our explanation of where and how we invest in our fundraising portfolio. We should defend, but we should not be defensive.

MILLY AHMED - joint managing director of the face-to-face fundraising agency Gift

Milly Ahmed, GiftCharities should not only be prepared to defend face-to-face, they should also be proud of it and celebrate it for the amazing support-generating tool it is. Charities using face-to-face should behave responsibly and answer simple questions, or else it seems like there's something big to hide.

The real issue is that the mechanisms of face-to-face are misunderstood and the most pressing task we all have is to educate the public about them, and about the fact that all fundraising costs money.

Our fundraisers were disappointed that they weren't fairly represented as face-to-face came under fire on Newsnight. At the end of the day, they are doing something marvellous and incredibly far-reaching - championing that can only be a good thing.

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