Face-to-face agencies 'knifed in the back' by charities

20 Mar 2017 News

Face-to-face fundraising agencies have been knifed in the back by their charity partners in the last two years, a fundraising consultant told a face-to-face conference in London today.

Daryl Upsall told the Institute of Fundraising's Face-to-Face Conference that, "the knife goes in the back of agencies" in the last two years.

"The knife goes in the back of the agencies. Not so many non-profits have closed but many agencies have. They were living on the margins, they had their golden years, don’t get me wrong - people did well from face-to-face over the years - but in the end it was not well managed”. 

Upsall is a former face-to-face fundraiser, and now runs a consultancy which still works in the field of face-to-face. 

He said that while many charities caught up in the media scandals of 2015 have survived, the majority of agencies in the same scandals have since closed down.

Upsall said many charities are driving a "race for volume, without necessarily being willing to pay for excellent fundraising" and that this had driven some of the "lowest common denominators" in terms of the practices that the media attacked.

Upsall said that face-to-face fundraising should be "a bond of trust and not a battlefield of costs between the charities and face-to-face agencies". He also said that charities should not only focus on the financial costs of good fundraising, but also take into account the "costs to reputation and environmental effects" that might come from poor fundraising practices.

Nearly half of public 'annoyed by face-to-face fundraisers'

Quoting a survey by nfpSynergy, Upsall said that 31 to 44 per cent of the public is actively annoyed by face-to-face fundraisers. Less than 20 per cent of respondents to the same survey said they would be willing to donate to a face-to-face fundraiser, he added.

He said the events of the last few years had hit the face-to-face fundraising industry hard and that while "the comeback in face-to-face is happening, it is happening slowly and it's not yet back to anywhere near where it was a few years ago".


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