Fundraising reform measures 'could cut sector's fundraised income by £2bn by 2020'

Research by the think tank Rogare, based on a survey of more than 500 fundraisers, also found widespread opposition to the Fundraising Preference Service notion

Direc mail: changes 'could cut sector income'
Direc mail: changes 'could cut sector income'

The package of measures to reform charity fundraising put forward by Sir Stuart Etherington could wipe £2bn from the sector’s fundraising income in 2020, according to new research.

A report published today based on a survey of more than 500 fundraisers by the think tank Rogare, part of the Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University, says that fundraisers expected a mean fall of 14 per cent in fundraised income in their financial years beginning in 2016, and a fall of 17 per cent by 2020.

The report says that analysis carried out by Professor Adrian Sargeant, who conducted the analysis of the data and wrote the final report, estimates that the changes could reduce fundraising income by about 20 per cent by 2020, which would be equal to about £2bn, based on current levels of giving. Total individual giving in 2020 is expected to be £10.6bn, according to the Charities Aid Foundation.

"Longer-term projections are even more troubling as the effect of the changes will compound over time as fewer donors are recruited, the quality of service they receive falls and levels of attrition begin to rise," the report says.

The survey also found that more than three-quarters of fundraisers were against the introduction of a Fundraising Preference Service.

The research, which was carried out in the first two weeks of November, found that 77 per cent of respondents were against the idea of the new service, which would enable people to opt out of all charity telephone and mail fundraising.

The survey found that 82 per cent of respondents felt that moving to an "opt-in" system of charity fundraising would have a significant or very significant negative effect on their fundraising activities.

Forty-six per cent of respondents said they felt the creation of a new fundraising regulator was necessary; 42 per cent said it was unnecessary.

Just under 44 per cent of respondents said the new regulator should be funded by a membership fee dependent on the size of the charity; 27 per cent said it should be funded entirely by central government.

People who indicated that they opposed the introduction of the FPS were also asked to choose from a list of options how the sector should oppose it.

Forty-nine per cent said the sector should enlist the help of "influential and knowledgeable advocates, such as trustees or academics" to do this on the profession’s behalf; 44 per cent said the Institute of Fundraising should be mandated to oppose it; and 39 per cent said a group similar to the Charity Defense Council in the US should be set up.

Eight per cent said the sector should refuse to cooperate with the FPS.

Sargeant said: "It’s clear there is some disquiet in the fundraising community about the Fundraising Preference Service and what the profession’s response to it should be.

"So our main objective in conducting this research was to find out the extent and depth of that feeling and, if fundraisers did think the FPS should be opposed, how that opposition might be organised.

"Fundraisers now have access to our findings and it will be up to them, having told us what they feel and think, whether they choose to act on some of those thoughts and feelings."

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