Share

Tell us how much we should tell donors, Naidu asks regulators

Tell us how much we should tell donors, Naidu asks regulators
News

Tell us how much we should tell donors, Naidu asks regulators1

Fundraising | Tania Mason | 2 Jan 2008

The Institute of Fundraising or the Charity Commission should take on the task of establishing what level of information is required by different groups of donors so that charities don’t overload them with inappropriate information in their efforts to be more transparent, senior Mencap fundraiser Michael Naidu has suggested.

“We can’t assume everybody wants the same level of information – what is required by a major donor will be quite different to what a 65-year-old lady wants,” he said. “Maybe there is a role for the Institute or the Charity Commission to ask people what kind of information they really want from charities.”

Naidu (pictured), who is head of donor marketing at Mencap, voiced the idea in a panel discussion on transparency and accountability at the Professional Fundraising Digital Communications for Charities conference in London last week.

Also sharing the platform were Tris Lumley, senior analyst at New Philanthropy Capital, Richard Marsh, director of the Impact Coalition, and Adam Rothwell from donor advice website Intelligent Giving. PF’s editor Becky Slack chaired.

Naidu was responding to a comment from Lumley that charities don’t do nearly enough to measure and report on the impact they have. Lumley also said that preying on people’s guilt might be an effective way of recruiting donors, but real relationship fundraising required charities to explain how they were helping to solve problems.

“Real transparency is about inspiring people,” said Lumley. “It may require some investment but it can be a transformative shift.”

Naidu argued that most donors wanted no more than easy-to-understand statements about a charity’s impact, though he acknowledged that there may be a difference in the requirements of modern donors as opposed to more traditional, older donors.

For this reason, he suggested, the Institute or the Commission should provide some guidance as to the level of information that should be provided to various stakeholder groups. 

But the Institute clearly didn’t think this would be necessary. Megan Pacey, the Institute’s director of policy and campaigns and Impact's Richard Marsh issued a joint statement to say that fundraisers already have a huge amount of information available about donor attitudes to, and expectations of, charities.

“The codes of fundraising practice provide significant guidance to support fundraisers how to disseminate information to the range of donors which their causes engage,” they said.

The Commission also felt its existing tools already provided adequate information. “This is largely what Summary Information Returns are for,” said a spokeswoman. “The SIR is designed to give a snapshot of a charity’s aims, activities and achievements and to enable charities to give an indication of factors that have affected their performance during the year.

“More detailed information is then available from other sources, for example the trustees annual report and accounts, which are available elsewhere on our website. They are also directly available from the register entry page of each charity with annual income over £1m. So, stakeholders are able to access varying levels of detail.”

Richard Marsh added during the debate that the Impact Coalition was around six weeks away from publishing an online toolkit that its member charities could use to improve their transparency and accountability.

Andy Taylor
30 Jan 2008

Michael Naidu's idea for guidleines on how much different donor groups should be told about the charity they are supporting would be completely unworkable in practice.

Donors don't always fall into neat groups. Major donors for example vary on an individual basis and it is the job of the fundraiser to understand and meet those individual needs, not just work to a pre-ordained formula that says what they should be told.

If fundraisers want to know whether they are sending the right information to donors then the first place they should look is their results. If you are raising more money then clearly you're doing something right. If you're raising less then maybe one reason (out of dozens of possible ones) is that what you're sending donors is either too much or not enough.

Andy Taylor
Director of Fundriaisng and Marketing
Action for Blind People

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Top charities take an average of just over 7 months to file accounts with the Charity Commission

1 Apr 2015

The average amount of time it takes the top 100 largest charities in the UK file their accounts with the...

Museum of London announces plan to relocate to Smithfield General Market

31 Mar 2015

The Museum of London has revealed plans to relocate to Smithfield General Market from its current home...

Children's Investment Fund Foundation grows its income by £22m

31 Mar 2015

The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation has reported an income rise of $33m (£22m) from $126m (£85m)...

Children’s cancer charity told by Commission to appoint more trustees

30 Mar 2015

The Charity Commission has given a charity where one of the founding trustees was accused of using funds...

Commission opens inquiry into learning disability charity accused of 'repeatedly defaulting' on its accounts

30 Mar 2015

The Charity Commission has opened a statutory inquiry into a Sheffield-based charity that was previously...

Aid charity founder and former chief executive denies fraud charges

30 Mar 2015

Tom Henderson, the founder and former chief executive of ShelterBox, and his son have both denied charges...

Homelessness charity unveils fundraising app that helps the charity locate rough sleepers

31 Mar 2015

A London-based homelessness charity has launched an app that uses geolocation technology to let people...

Social media 'slacktivism' encourages people to donate, finds JustGiving report

18 Mar 2015

People who share a fundraising page on social media are four times more likely to donate than those who...

Samaritans closes Twitter monitoring app permanently

11 Mar 2015

Samaritans has confirmed that it has permanently closed its app that was designed to monitor people’s...

Join the discussion

Twitter button

@CSFundraising