Homeless people don't mind stereotyping 'if it brings the cash in'

They understand that it helps fundraising, says research by the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy

Stereotype or useful image?
Stereotype or useful image?

Homeless people understand that they may be depicted in a stereotyped way in fundraising campaigns to increase donations, according to research for the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy.

University of Kent researchers Beth Breeze and Jon Dean studied homeless people's views of the representation of homelessness in fundraising materials. They found that homeless people were sometimes critical of stereotypical images - such as old men in duffle coats - but they understood that maximising donations was the most important outcome.

The findings could reduce tension between fundraising and communications departments, which sometimes disagree over imagery.

"There has been a lot of debate about the ethics of the images you use," said Breeze. "But this shows that beneficiaries are pragmatic. They know some imagery is simplistic, but if it brings in money then go for it.

"Hopefully this will give fundraisers some leeway to use the most effective imagery in order to bring in the most money possible."

- Is it acceptable to stereotype beneficiaries when making fundraising appeals? Vote in our poll

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