Friday, 30 October 2015

Are you for or against the "Fundraising Preference Service"?

The arguments are hotting up. Adrian Sargeant has, once again, offered some very helpful research amongst, he says, one million lapsed donors, so quite a sample to say that they are generally content with the communications they received from the respective charities. He uses this to justify a powerful attack on the proposed FPS.

He says, "The fundraising sector’s response to the proposed Fundraising Preference service has been ‘pathetically’ limp and that all those who are endorsing it without any evidence that it is needed should feel ashamed." Adrian also challenges Stuart Etherington to come up with the evidence to support the various NCVO report recommendations.

Ian MacQuillin agrees and has started his "say no" campaign.

I fear we're too late. We've missed the boat. The Commons Select Committee won't even ask for any fundraisers' opinions or evidence.

Whilst I completely agree that we didn't, a year ago, need a specific FPS we have, I believe, brought this down on our own heads. As I've been grumping about for months the transactional approach we've been trying to use doesn't work very well. Inappropriate, repetitive asks to upgrade one-off single donations to regular monthly gifts does piss people off. This is where the dissatisfaction lies and by doing nothing about it till now, it is hard to argue that an opt out service isn't a good idea. It doesn't stop us advertising, campaigning, asking for donations. But it will give one-off givers the opportunity to avoid automated, repetitive, inappropriate, upgrade asks.

We're going to have to work much harder at communicating effectively, asking for permission and, most important of all, taking time to develop relationships that the givers want - not what we want to saddle them with. It might well reduce response rates, we are going to have to work harder and smarter. And about bloody time too!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


When are we going to stop over egging it?

An imploring ad that your donation of £3 will provide a life saving kit for a dog, cat or child is simply not credible. It is only vaguely true if the gift is converted quickly at low cost into a regular donation. But that's not what people sign up to. My children (35 and 38!) are fed up with texting £3 and then being bombarded with texts emails and calls. And they, like a lot of their friends, actually want to help. They do believe their donations make a difference.Sadly they are becoming cynical, disillusioned, and less likely to give again.

This summer's debacle has largely been around the reversion to transactional fundraising (text £3 to save the dog or whatever) and the then formulaic,bullying tactics employed to "persuade" those givers to convert to monthly gifts. At least street canvassers are honest. They ask, up front, for a monthly donation - gift aided. That means your £10 becomes £750 over five years. That might change the world, for the better, in a tiny way.

I continue to be gob smacked that many charities who ought to know better are ignoring all the red flags (Sir Stuart's report is to be implemented). When are we going to start being transparent? When are we going to start trying to build a relationship by ensuring that givers understand where the money is going (the whole pound)? And treat givers with respect.

As Charlie Brown used to say, "I weep for my generation"

Tell me, please, that I don't need to worry.