Most face-to-face fundraising complaints 'are about the behaviour of collectors', survey says

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, says complaints about face-to-face and door-to-door fundraising have spiked over the past year

Alistair McLean
Alistair McLean

Sixty per cent of complaints about face-to-face street fundraising are about the conduct of collectors, new figures from the Fundraising Standards Board show.

The FRSB asked charities to provide more details of the complaints they received about to door-to-door, face-to-face and doorstep collections, as a follow-up to its 2011 Complaints Report.   

The figures were contained in a presentation today by Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, at the Institute of Fundraising’s face-to-face fundraising conference in London

He said that of the complaints about door-to-door collections, 45 per cent were related to fundraiser conduct.

Dislike of the method of fundraising was the second most common cause of concern about both techniques, attracting 19 per cent of complaints about door-to-door and 24 per cent about face-to-face.

Complaints about doorstep clothing collections were mainly about bags not being picked up, which accounted for 53 complaints out of a total of 133, or 39 per cent. Dislike of the method was the second biggest cause for concern.

Overall, in 2011 charities reported to the FRSB a total of 2,877 complaints about door-to-door, 1,098 about face-to-face and 1,034 about doorstep clothing collections.

The FRSB was given further details on what people were complaining about on 45 per cent of the total complaints about door-to-door, 23 per cent of those about face-to-face and 13 per cent of those about clothing collections.

McLean said that complaints from the public about both face-to-face and door-to-door fundraising made directly to FRSB had spiked over the past 12 months.

In 2011, the FRSB handled 14 complaints about door-to-door that charities were unable to resolve themselves; this year it has dealt with 38, he said. Complaints about face-to-face have more than doubled from four in 2011 to nine in 2012.

"This is the first time we have asked members for more details about complaints concerning public collections," said McLean. "The fact that fundraiser conduct yields such a high proportion of complaints is surprising and will certainly be something that we watch closely and encourage all practitioners to think carefully about."

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