Fundraising in the UK is 'not very good', Martin Brookes tells MPs

Chief executive of New Philanthropy Capital tells select committee the sector must improve to attract more wealthy donors

Martin Brookes
Martin Brookes

The British fundraising sector is "not very good", according to Martin Brookes, the chief executive of the consultancy and think tank New Philanthropy Capital.

Brookes was giving evidence to a hearing of the Public Administration Select Committee, which is looking at donations by the banking and hedge fund industry as part of its inquiry into voluntary sector funding.

"We just don't have a very high-quality fundraising sector in Britain," he said. "There is a dearth of quality fundraisers in the UK – unlike, say, in the US."

Brookes said charities had done a very poor job at marketing themselves to wealthy donors over recent decades.

"You see evidence for that when you talk to individual charities about the profile of their donor relations and how many big ticket donations they get; they tend to get very small five or six-figure donations," he said.

Brookes told the committee that a number of charities had recognised this over the past decade and started to invest in fundraisers specialising in donations by wealthy people. But he said that, in general, the industry was "not very good".

Unless charities employed better fundraisers, he said, it would be hard to raise money from people who worked for hedge funds, for example, because they were used to high-quality, professional services.

Chris Blackhurst, city editor at the London Evening Standard, told the session: "If you're asking people who make money – wealthy people, who by definition are successful, efficient, entrepreneurial people – and you're asking them to give money to charity, you can't just expect them to give willy-nilly.

"I think the charity sector itself has to show increased efficiency."

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