Those charity marketers who have been trying to kid themselves that the backlash against their methods is just a media witch-hunt will finally have to take a long hard look at themselves after the sector’s chief enforcer admitted fundraising is out of control.
The Fundraising Standards Board’s annual FRSB Complaints Report echoes recent public concerns about charity fundraising.
The report, which presents an overview of 52,389 charity fundraising complaints recorded in 2014, shows that while advertising has the biggest reach of all fundraising methods, it prompted just 2% of complaints.
Like it or not, it is direct marketing (direct mail, telephone fundraising, email and SMS) and public collections (direct debit, cash, prospect and clothing/household collections) that account for the vast majority (86%) of fundraising complaints recorded.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, as they are the two biggest disciplines in terms of spend, direct mail and telephone fundraising the top areas for complaint – although only by the numbers. The worst performer is private face-to-face, with telemarketing third and mailshots fifth.
Although there has been a 5% reduction in complaints about direct mail (both addressed and unaddressed mail) over the past year, the top fundraising channels for complaint remain addressed mail, telephone, doorstep face-to-face and clothing collections. Together, these four methods account for three quarters of all fundraising complaints.
FRSB chair Lloyd, the former president of the DMA, said: “We recognise the immense challenges facing charities as they deal with continued Government cuts and growing demand for services; there is an urgent need for funds. But, there is also an urgent need to ensure that public concerns are addressed and that a balance is struck that meets both the interests of the donor and charity beneficiaries.”
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