INSTITUTE OF FUNDRAISING: Member Viewpoint - Small charities should join forces to make the most of payroll giving


I saw the advent of the Government's additional 10 per cent to all payroll donations in the 2000 Budget as a golden opportunity to generate much-needed, unrestricted income for my organisation.

We had no individual donor base, no membership scheme and no real vehicle through which to talk to potential supporters. Payroll giving had to be the way forward, the panacea, our potential golden egg.

Well two and a bit years later I am still convinced that I am right, but it has not been easy, and I still struggle to convince others. So why has it proved so hard?

When you work for a small national charity and have limited fundraising resources, the only easy way to acquire donors is to use a Professional Fundraising Organisation (PFO) to undertake the recruitment for you. This results in a number of initial problems. First, you need to find the budget to pay for your recruitment up-front. Second, you have to find a PFO which is prepared to take you on as a client. And third, you then have to rely on the staff of the PFO to offer your charity as an option to the potential donors they meet in the workplace.

There are not enough PFOs to go round, and generally the better known your charity, the more chance you have of them recruiting payroll donors for you. I think the future for small national, regional or local charities is to form local or regional consortia and recruit their own workplace presenter (either employed or volunteer). In other words, start up their own PFO.

If you are in this situation and interested in recruiting payroll donors but find yourself restricted by the existing PFO structure, perhaps we should be talking?

Bill Giles MInstF (Cert), director of fundraising at Contact a Family, and chair of the Institute's London region.

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