FUNDRAISING NEWS: Wildlife trust recruits face-to-face

Annie Kelly

Face-to-face fundraisers will target visitors to wildlife reserves in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight asking them to give a monthly donation to support the general upkeep of the reserves.

Staff and volunteers at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust are being trained by fundraising consultancy Field Works to carry out recruitment campaigns during events days at the trust's 61 wildlife reserves.

The charity runs door-to-door acquisition campaigns, but wanted to develop different ways of approaching potential supporters.

"The people who are visiting our wildlife reserves obviously have an interest in what we do, so will hopefully be more receptive to our message," said Hilary Mould-Ryan, marketing officer at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. "Our employees and volunteers are really committed and we thought that their enthusiasm for the cause would have an infectious effect on visitors."

Martin Field, director at Field Works, said that this customised approach to face-to-face fundraising avoided some negative issues associated with the practice.

"Street fundraising has had a lot of bad press in the past few months because people feel pressured into acknowledging a cause that they may feel no empathy with," he said. "When we approach people on the reserves they will have first-hand experience of what we're trying to protect, and it's a more lateral way of rallying new support."

Charities such as the Waterways Trust have also run selected face-to-face fundraising campaigns on canal banks, and also at museums and public events.

"I think this shows that charities can learn from past mistakes and adapt methods to suit their particular audience," said Field. "It's all about developing that shared interest between the charity and people who have an active interest in what it is doing."

The exercise is also designed to encourage volunteers to become ambassadors for the wildlife trust and promote the benefits of supporting its wildlife reserves to the wider public.

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