Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Time to say no to fundraisers?

In the wake of the sad Olive Cooke episode the Institute of Fundraising has launched an investigation into standards and codes of practice in the light of recommendations from the FRSB and calls from MPs and Peers to change the law.

I did a TV interview with David Garmston yesterday stressing that whilst fundraisers have a duty to ask for money everybody has the right to say no. It's not difficult in the street - or shouldn't be as pursuing someone after they've said no is crap fundraising and won't work. However when does it become too forceful to ask by letter, email or telephone in the face of donations that stopped months or even years before? We are are loathe to admit that someone is a lapsed giver but if that really is the reality we'd better get over it and let people get on with their lives. It is a few years since I was a director of fundraising but I sense people still think that size is everything. i.e. I've got a bigger database than you(even if half of them never give) and of course how do we know that they are not still legacy prospects?

Well in the age old method, ask them! Let's have a grown up conversation that allows people freely, without pressure or guilt, to say, please no more requests for money. They might then still be willing to get news and genuine updates occasionally, but, it has to be an agreement that we stick to.

I'm increasingly of a mind that some charities really can't take no for an answer. I had a letter from an older lady's daughter in response to my earlier TV "cri de coeur" that we don't need more legislation. She went through numerous episodes of charities continuing to contact her mother despite their agreed, no more please. Again it's crap fundraising and will in time, bite us in the bum! We have to get better at not sharing names and following up ad nausium. Time I believe for more intelligent asking and back to Ken Burnett's idea of relationship fundraising.

I dare you to disagree.