Sector 'must educate public about the benefits of face-to-face'

Dominic Will, joint managing director of Home Fundraising, tells IoF conference that agencies, charities and regulatory bodies should all fund awareness-raising

Dominic Will
Dominic Will

The voluntary sector must take steps to educate the public and the media about the benefits of face-to-face fundraising, the head of the agency Home Fundraising has said.

Dominic Will, joint managing director of the company, which is a major supplier of doorstep fundraising in the UK and the largest commercial employer of fundraisers in Europe, said that agencies, charities and the regulatory bodies should collectively fund such awareness-raising activity.

He said it could be part of the Impact Coalition, the network of more than 400 voluntary sector organisations that want to improve transparency and help the public better understand how charities work.

Will was speaking after taking part in a session at the Institute of Fundraising’s face-to face conference in London on Monday, during which he successfully argued for "hostility towards face-to-face fundraising" to be consigned to Room 101.

"Collectively, we need to have consistent messages to inform and educate the public, the media and our own sector – and this needs to be more proactive," he said in a statement about face-to-face fundraising after the event.

"The debate around trust and confidence in face-to-face channels – or any form of fundraising for that matter – needs to be had from the point of principle, not the tiny vocal minority, or solely from the point of view of regulation and compliance.

"Decisions need to be made, and made quickly, about which sector organisation is best placed to take the lead and coordinate the message. The networks exist and it could, for example, be part of the work of the Impact Coalition. If that means we collectively need to fund it – then let’s fund it."

Will said fundraising charities already had the ability to talk positively and consistently about the income generated through face-to-face, the number of new donors it recruited, the positive impact it had on beneficiaries, the new skills learned by fundraisers and the positive effects of it on the wider economy. "So let’s agree on the basic messages and start communicating them," he said.

A spokesman for Home said there had been discussions in the past about the IoF leading such proactive advocacy of face-to-face fundraising, but at the moment there was "a void in terms of this work".

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