The future of door-to-door fundraising has been thrown into doubt following the collapse of the largest agency in the sector, Home Fundraising, which has gone into voluntary administration putting over 600 jobs at risk.
The agency, which was launched in 2003, has suspended all operations in its 16 regional offices. Administrators from HW Fisher & Company are actively seeking buyers for all or part of the business and assets.
Its financial woes date back to last year when Home Fundraising entered a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to pay off £1.5m worth of debt, including £1.3m owed to HM Revenue & Customs.
And Dominic Will, joint managing director of Home, blamed the costs of downscaling the business to adapt to a changing marketplace.
According to Companies House, the company had a turnover of £22m for the year to March 31 2017, but made a profit of only £556,000. The year before it recorded a loss of £181,000.
Will said: “We are deeply saddened that, after so many years in the sector, Home Fundraising must go into administration. In particular, we feel for our fundraisers and staff, who’ve been such passionate advocates for the charities we have worked with and have initiated so many long-standing donor relationships. Our staff have undoubtedly been Home’s biggest asset.
“It’s been an extremely difficult time for fundraising agencies in recent years, with the need to adapt to a dramatically changing marketplace.”
“Ultimately, despite all of our efforts, we have been unable to reconcile the cost of adapting and downscaling within the capacity of the ongoing business. Taking the company into administration at this juncture is the most responsible course of action.”
However, despite conceding that the face-to-face fundraising market had reduced in recent years, he believed that the discipline could remain a key part of the fundraising mix.
Institute of Fundraising figures show that almost three million people have pledged to support a charity in the past five years after a doorstep conversation. However, Oxfam, the Royal British Legion, VSO, and RNLI have all ditched the discipline.
Institute of Fundraising chief executive Peter Lewis added: “We know that door-to-door fundraising is one of the hardest jobs in the profession, and the team at Home took training and development very seriously, so we hope that all of its highly skilled and committed fundraisers find alternative jobs within the profession.”
Last month, the boss of one of the UK’s largest charity telemarketing agencies blamed GDPR for a collapse in the company’s business after thrashing out a deal to pay off debts of more than £650,000.
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