The number of people who signed up to give to charity through street fundraisers rose by almost 40 per cent in 2011/12, according to figures from the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association.
Released to tie in with the PFRA’s annual general meeting today, the figures show that street fundraisers working for the association’s 140 member organisations recruited 238,273 direct-debit donors in 2010/11, compared with 170,610 in the previous year.
The figures include data from eight more organisations than in 2010/11.
The overall number of people who signed up through either door-to-door or face-to-face fundraising rose from 730,268 in 2010/11 to 863,407 – a rise of 18 per cent.
The number of people signed up by door-to-door fundraisers increased by 11.7 per cent, from 559,658 last year to 625,134 in 2011/12. This represented 72 per cent of the total number of sign-ups.
Figures on attrition and retention rates will be revealed at the meeting this afternoon.
Ian MacQuillin, head of communications at the PFRA, said there was evidence that the number of street fundraisers in the UK was increasing, although the organisation does not keep figures.
Recent research commissioned by the PFRA found that street fundraisers approach an average of 180 people for every sign-up they make.
"The increase appears to be down to agencies taking on more fundraisers to meet demand, working on sites that at other times have been empty," said MacQuillin.
For example, London ‘grade C’ sites, which can accommodate fewer fundraisers on fewer days than grades A and B, were used more last year than before, he said.
Outside London, donor recruitment through street fundraisers went up by 65 per cent, from 77,957 to 128,643.
MacQuillin said this could be down to agencies putting out ‘roving teams’ that fundraise in areas they wouldn’t have used before.
"No matter how much you try to nudge people into giving a few pence here and there by rounding up their restaurant bills or prompting a couple of quid during an ATM withdrawal, there’s little as effective as a real person passionately engaging with you about the cause," he said.
Simon Morrison, director of policy and communications at the Institute of Fundraising, said: "The increase in face-to-face giving is encouraging, despite some councils clamping down on this crucial tool for fundraisers and charities."