'Donors are also consumers', Lord Grade tells fundraisers

The chair of the Fundraising Regulator tells an Institute of Fundraising dinner that the sector has to be sensitive to donors' feelings in the context of the total marketing mix

Lord Grade
Lord Grade

Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, has told fundraisers to remember that "donors are also consumers" and are frequently inundated with advertising material.

Speaking at a three-course gala dinner held by the Institute of Fundraising in London last night, Grade, who is a Conservative peer and a former chair of the BBC, said fundraisers had to be sensitive to donors’ feelings in the context of the overall marketing mix.

"We’re getting bombarded with efforts to sell us something over and over again," said Grade. He added he often felt irritated by pop-up adverts that interrupted a Scrabble game he played on his mobile phone.

"We’re on the verge of getting fed up," he said. "There is no escape from invasions of your space and privacy."

He said there had been a serious escalation of advertising recently, although he admitted that material produced by charities represented a small proportion of that.

Grade’s speech came a day after he was quoted in The Sunday Times newspaper as saying that he told doorstep fundraisers who approached him to "bugger off".

Richard Taylor, chair of the IoF, indirectly criticised the comments in a speech on Monday morning, describing them as unhelpful.

Referring to the comments in his speech, Grade said he simply given voice to "something in the air".

A source at the event, who did not wish to be named, said: "Grade said all the right things about working with the sector and thanking everyone who had helped – the Fundraising Standards Board, the IoF, the PFRA, the Charity Commission and so on – but he was certainly unapologetic as to the storm over his comments to The Sunday Times."

After the speech, Carol Akiwumi, a fundraising consultant and trustee of the IoF, posted on Twitter: "‘Interesting’ dinner speech by Lord Grade on launch of new Fundraising Regulator."

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