Face to face fundraising: right or wrong?

Face-to-face fundraising (or ‘chugging’ is it is known) hit the press again last week with Charlie Elphicke, Conservative MP for Dover and Deal and a member of the Public Administration Select Committee, claiming it was was "one of the great infestations of modern life that lashes out at people in the street" and was "toxic to the charity brand".

F2F most cost effective means of raising money

According to the Public Fundraising Regulatory Authority, face-to-face fundraising is “one of the most cost-effective and successful ways for charities to find new donors to support their causes.”

Chugging typically involves a fundraiser asking someone on the street or at their home to make a regular donation to charity.

The PFRA goes on to say that this type of fundraising has been “particularly resilient during the recession.... Over the past two years, PFRA members have reported a growth in the total number of F2F sign-ups and some charities report that it is the only ‘donor recruitment’ method that works for them.”

What do you think about banning chugging? Is this cutting the lifeblood of charities at an already challenging time? Or is it really toxic to the brand?

Charity donations down 20%

This year charity donations fell from £11bn to £9.3bn, the number of people donating fell, and the average donation fell from £11 to £10 a month.

Charities are increasingly adopting digital channels of communication with existing and potential supporters. As we set out in our review of Kanter and Fine’s book The Networked Nonprofit, we approve of this move and are watching with interest the shift it is bringing from marketing around charity brand to marketing around cause. However, charities still need money to operate and face to face fundraising is still a crucial source.

Yes to innovation. No to regulation!

At a time of falling public engagement in charitable activities I believe that charities should be free to determine the best way to preserve and enhance the ‘charity brand’. Yes, greater collaboration between charities on a broad engagement strategy is required. Yes, charities should innovate and explore new ways of cause based marketing. But, no, government regulation is not the way forward.

About the Author

Managing Director
Andy manages the company and oversees client relationships. He’s run several other start-ups and charities, and is a qualified solicitor with an interest in social business and enterprise.