International development charity VSO is pulling the plug on its door-to-door fundraising activity, blaming falling donations and rising donor churn for the decision.
The charity has used door-to-door fundraisers since 2007 to recruit regular donors, but confirmed in its annual report – published this week – that it has stopped using this approach.
“Due to insufficient long-term returns and high supporter attrition, we chose to withdraw from door-to-door activity, and are diversifying the ways we recruit new regular givers”, it said. VSO raised £6m from 41,000 regular givers last year.
Doorstep fundraising methods have been heavily criticised in the national media. Last year, five charities – Save the Children, Children’s Trust, Unicef UK, Action for Children and learning disability organisation Hft – were forced to suspend their contracts with D2D agency Neet Feet following allegations that staff targeted elderly people with aggressive doorstep techniques. The agency folded soon after.
RNLI soon followed suit, despite admitting it would lose about £300,000 in the first year. It said that the activity did not fit into its new opt-in regime.
During the past year, VSO used the agencies APPCO and HOME for doorstep fundraising and this accounted for the “majority” of its new donor recruitment. It said it had a number of safeguards in place to monitor the activity.
“Results were closely monitored on a weekly basis with status calls. We shadowed the fundraisers to better understand how they work in the field,” the charity said.
“Several welcome calls were sent every two weeks, which were listened to by the VSO team. Feedback was then sent back to the team, and amendments made to practices. We held regular refresher workshops to ensure fundraisers were well informed about VSO and our work.”
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