Royal British Legion ends all door-to-door fundraising

The charity concludes the method does not fit within its fundraising portfolio

Royal British Legion website
Royal British Legion website

The Royal British Legion has ended its door-to-door fundraising programme after it was the focus of a Mail on Sunday investigation into its doorstep work with the sales promotion company Magnum Direct.

A spokeswoman for the charity told Third Sector it had stopped investing in door-to-door campaigns because the fundraising channel "did not fit effectively" within its fundraising portfolio.

The Mail on Sunday reported in August that Magnum Direct might have been misleading Legion donors over how their money was used.

The newspaper also reported that fundraisers working on behalf of the Legion were being told to ignore "no cold caller" notices and that a paid fundraiser had been claiming to be a volunteer, prompting the Legion to suspend its work with the agency and launch an investigation into what had happened.

In February 2015, separate door-to-door fundraisers working on behalf of the charity in Kent also drew police complaints after allegedly approaching people after dark.

The Legion stopped working with its only remaining door-to-door agency partner, AGS Global Fundraising Services, in October, according to Ben Oliver, the agency’s business director.

The spokeswoman for the Legion said it was currently exploring other channels, including private site fundraising with AGS. She added that the its fundraising methods were kept under regular review.

The charity has removed a page explaining how its door-to-door fundraising programme worked from its website. The page said that the fundraising method was an "essential" part of how the Legion engaged with its new supporters and that the charity carefully monitored this activity.

It provided an email address members of the public could write to if they were unhappy with the conduct of a fundraiser or believed they had any reason to doubt their authenticity.

Oxfam ended all door-to-door fundraising in December, blaming poor returns.

Doorstep revenue across the sector declined from an estimated £83m in 2014/15 to £70m in the year to March 2016, according to the Public Fundraising Association. The number of donors recruited via the medium fell by 14 per cent to 594,000 over the period.

Oliver said the decline was inevitable given the media scrutiny on charity fundraising over the past year and regulations such as the requirement introduced last September for fundraisers to respect "no-cold-calling" signs at people’s properties.

AGS is the face-to-face fundraising arm of the marketing agency Appco Group, which is the focus of an internal investigation launched by the cancer charity Anthony Nolan.

The inquiry was launched earlier this month after one of the agency’s door-to-door fundraisers allegedly left donors in Shetland in Scotland feeling "conned" into donating four times more than they had agreed to. 

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