Revealed: what the public thinks of charity fundraising

Street fundraising

The public find many forms of charity fundraising annoying according to new research

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18th May 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

New research suggests that one in two people find it very annoying to be asked to give to charity on their doorstep or over the telephone.

A third of those polled also dislike being approached to sign up to a cause in the street, with collection buckets the preferred way to be asked for money.

The research, carried out by consultancy nfpSynergy, revealed that 48% of people find doorstep and telephone fundraising very annoying and only one in 10 say they understand it’s an effective way to raise money.

Telephone fundraising also has the highest “net annoyance score” (40%), a rating that takes into account both those annoyed by a particular fundraising method and those who understand its effectiveness.

Adverts and newspaper or magazine leaflets are the most popular with a net annoyance score of -24%.

In total, 35% of people say they are very annoyed about being approached by a street fundraiser and over a quarter are bothered by text messages asking for cash.

It’s become all too tempting to chase that extra pound without worrying about the long term damage

Other methods that irritate the public include mailers or letters (22%), emails (20%) and online adverts (14%). 

The new data, based on a survey of 1,000 adults across the UK, did show that some fundraising methods sit well with the public.

Over a third were happy to be asked to donate as they pass collection tins or charity buckets, while around one in five are happy with leaflets or television adverts. 

People were also asked how they would want to be asked to give. Just over a quarter said they preferred to be asked via street cash collections and TV adverts, while around one in seven favoured leaflets and emails.

NfpSynergy’s Joe Saxton said: “This data is yet another sobering reminder of the irritation fundraising can cause and it’s become all too tempting to chase that extra pound without worrying about the long-term damage.

“The Code of Fundraising Practice is a perfect example, where “no cold calling” stickers are still seen as measures that don’t apply to charities. 

“The good news is it is possible to change how people see fundraising. A decade ago, street collections were widely despised, but now a fifth of people understand they’re effective, even if they don’t really like them.

“Charities simply must listen to donors and the public because ignoring today’s irritation only makes it more difficult to raise funds tomorrow.”

Charity fundraising methods have come under the spotlight this week after the family of 92 year old poppy seller Olive Cooke said “pestering” by charities contributed to her death.