Three-quarters of British people feel "bombarded" by charity fundraising appeals, while 79 per cent ignore most of the charity fundraising letters and emails they receive, new research suggests.
A ComRes survey of more than 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by the fundraising website eSolidar and the results of which are published today, found that 74 per cent of respondents agreed or tended to agree with the statement "I feel bombarded by charity fundraising appeals".
Twenty per cent of respondents disagreed with the statement, with the remainder saying they did not know.
The proportion of respondents who agreed that they felt bombarded rose to 83 per cent among the people aged over 65 but fell to 66 per cent among 18 to 24-year-olds.
When asked if they ignored most of the fundraising letters and emails they received, 79 per cent of respondents agreed with this statement, while 15 per cent disagreed with it.
Only 26 per cent of respondents to the poll, which was carried out last week, said they were happy to stop and talk to charity fundraisers in the street – a pattern that was consistent across the ages, regions and social grades included in the poll. Eighty per cent said they thought that some professional charity fundraisers crossed the line into unethical behaviour in their attempts to get donations.
Older respondents were more likely to say that they thought the behaviour of professional charity fundraisers crossed the line than their younger counterparts – 91 per cent agreed with this statement, compared with 69 per cent of 18 to 24 and 25 to 34-year-olds.
The survey found that 58 per cent of people said they would try to avoid donating to charities that spent lots of money on fundraising, although 25 per cent disagreed with this statement.
Men were more likely to avoid donating to such charities than women, with 62 per cent saying they would do this, compared with 55 per cent of women.
There was also a considerable generational divide on this issue, with 76 per cent of respondents aged over 65 in agreement with the statement compared with 51 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds.
Marco Barbosa, founder and chief executive of eSolidar, said he believed the findings were likely to make charities review their fundraising methods.
"It’s a shame that the poor practices of a small number of charities have had such a negative impact on the sector as a whole," he said. "Charities may be inadvertently wasting vast sums of money sending out mailings and alienating potential supporters as a result."