Fundraising can help improve public trust, forum hears

31 Oct 2018 News

The head of policy and external affairs at the Institute of Fundraising has said that more fundraising is a way of improving public trust and confidence in the sector, following another damaging year of media stories. 

Speaking at the Westminster Social Policy Forum in London yesterday, Daniel Fluskey said that no one charity can solve the issue of declining levels of public trust and confidence in the sector. He said instead that, given evidence which shows that people who donate to a particular charity are more trusting of that organisation, the answer could be doing more fundraising.

“No-one here can solve the issue of public trust in charities. It is too big an issue. It’s too hard, it’s too all-encompassing. But what every charity can do is be trustworthy, and we can all embed trustworthiness in our fundraising.

“We know that trust is stronger with the people who give to us, than it is for the people who don’t. So actually there’s a huge opportunity to develop public trust, and deal with confidence, through doing more fundraising and getting more people donating. Fundraising is absolutely key to raising trust and confidence in the sector.”

He also said that improving diversity and inclusion in the fundraising sector would be key to increasing public trust and confidence. 

Don’t be distracted by ‘new, shiny thing’ 

Fluskey also said that 2018 had been another “pretty challenging year for the sector”, and warned the sector against being distracted by the promise that new technologies such as blockchain would prompt a fundraising revolution. 

He said instead that charities need to focus on “a marginal gains approach”, making improvements to every element of their fundraising operations, from supporter journeys to internal culture. 

“When we face big challenges, big strategic problems, we try to look for the next big thing, because the problems are so massive that we don’t know what to do. Say blockchain or other cryptocurrencies. We get slightly distracted by these shiny, new things thinking that we need these to get our fundraising revolutionised. I think that there’s no such thing.

“So rather than looking for the big, next thing, the future success of fundraising is going to be founded on improvements across the board. A marginal gains approach, if you like. It’s about looking at everything that we do, and seeing where we can do it better.”

He said that the fundraising sector seems to be “having the same kind of discussion, talking about the same kind of topics and things” as it did 20 years ago. That doesn't make "the things we're facing irrelevant or peripheral, but means that we're discussing really knotty, underlying issues".

However, Fluskey said he saw “a bright future” for the fundraising sector “founded on the commitment and passion of the people in the sector all striving to do better, to do new things and to improve.”

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