Fundraising events can 'help to heal society'

Charity fundraising events could compensate for the absence of community in contemporary society by bringing people together, according to Paul Farthing, director of corporate partnerships at Cancer Research UK.

“Traditional relationships have broken down, families have dispersed and we don’t have the same class identity or the same situations around trade unions or traditional clubs,” he told delegates at the Institute of Fundraising Scotland’s conference in Glasgow yesterday. “People are looking for more connections and ways to be involved and engaged – look at the millions of people who register for online dating services, desperate to be attached to people and form some sort of network.”

Farthing said charity supporters were increasingly interested in events such as CRUK’s Race for Life or volunteering activities such as gardening for the National Trust. Such social activities were an effective donor recruitment technique, he said.

“We look very carefully at how we can cross-sell to encourage donors to have a deeper relationship with the charity,” he said. “One of the things we do is ask runners to become regular givers – many of them do, which is great. Race for Life is a fantastic experience, and many people become emotionally attached.”

Farthing added that social events also prompted supporters to act as ambassadors for the charity and recruit their friends.

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