The Institute of Fundraising board has adopted an official position statement which defends the right of charities to invest in legitimate fundraising for whatever return they feel is good for their organisation.
Following a meeting on Thursday last week, the board has made official what has been the general attitude of the fundraising membership body for some time.
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute, outlined the new position, which emphasises faith in charities’ own judgement in deciding what is a good return on fundraising investment for their organisation.
“Charities have got the right to raise money how they want, so long as those forms are legitimate, because different methods of fundraising work for different organisations and different people give in different ways. It’s absolutely up to those charities how they raise their money,” he said.
This sentiment will form an official position statement which will feature on the Institute’s website and likely make an appearance in its codes of fundraising, which are currently under review.
Lewis said that public debate over the effectiveness of different fundraising methods was unfair given that such debate so rarely occurs about other areas of charities operations.
“People don’t tell charities how to deliver their services. You don’t get involved and say ‘no you shouldn’t deal with homeless people like that’, so why should you start telling charities how they should fundraise if they are legitimate forms?,” he told civilsociety.co.uk.
Lewis had expressed concern on Twitter about public speculation about charities’ return from fundraising in the past. Last November when Acevo chief executive Sir Stephen Bubb criticised the Health Lottery for returning only 20p in the £1 to charities – the statutory minimum for society lotteries - Lewis tweeted: “Bubb not representing me although I am a member. Seems legal, transparent and offering people a new opportunity to give.”
But while the Health Lottery is the most recent high profile case of public debate about just how much charities receive from fundraising efforts, the issue has followed much of fundraising activity, in particular with regard to face-to-face fundraising and other methods, like direct mail.