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Charities report ‘positive’ early results after resuming public fundraising

11 Aug 2020 News

Some charities that have resumed face-to-face fundraising activities after lockdown have said they are seeing positive early results.

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Children’s Charity, St John Ambulance and Guide Dogs have all restarted face-to-face fundraising in the past month, and say the public has so far reacted well to their fundraisers’ presence.

The charities also introduced a series of precautions to conduct public fundraising safely during the pandemic, including the use of face coverings and hand sanitiser, prioritising contactless payments when possible, extra training for fundraisers and maintaining social distance at all times.

The Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising released guidance in June on how to return to face-to-face fundraising safely after the easing of lockdown.

GOSH saw uplift in sign-up rate

GOSH Charity restarted door-to-door fundraising on 6 July and private site fundraising on 3 August. It currently has 18 fundraisers working door-to-door across Birmingham, Lichfield, Bristol and Bath, and four doing private site fundraising in Southampton and Brighton.

The charity said it is “really pleased” with how things are going so far, with positive performance indicators for door-to-door fundraising. It reported an increase in average gift amount (up by 7% on July last year) and sign-up rate (16% up).

On its website, it says that the decision wasn’t “taken lightly” and that “door-to-door fundraising is a very important and highly effective part of our fundraising programme”.

Richard Bowyer, director of marketing and public fundraising at GOSH Charity, said: “Great Ormond Street Hospital needs the support of the charity more than ever as it continues to provide life-saving care to seriously ill children from across the UK. With many of our fundraising events being cancelled, we’re predicting a drop of as much as £25m in our income that supports the hospital this year.  

“Following government and sector guidelines, we have restarted some of our face-to-face fundraising activity in limited locations, by introducing various new safety measures, and we’re really pleased to get back out into local communities to raise awareness and vital funds for the hospital.  

“We have completely humbled by everyone’s generosity and would like to say a huge thank you to all our supporters.”

St John Ambulance: Results ‘consistent’ with pre-lockdown levels

St John Ambulance also restarted door-to-door fundraising via its agency Wesser on 6 July, initially with a team of 15 fundraisers, which has now increased to 20. The charity said that results are similar to pre-lockdown.

A spokesperson said: “In comparison to the period of door-to-door fundraising prior to lockdown, the results have been consistent with minimal changes.

“The Wesser activity is still not at full capacity, so it’s difficult to give a full picture, but results from our key performance indicators are consistent throughout.”

The charity said it is monitoring feedback from fundraisers and members of the public daily, and that it has been positive, with fundraisers reporting people being “friendly” and “receptive” and willing to have conversations.

When the charity announced the decision to restart public fundraising, Christian Parry, face-to-face fundraising manager at St John Ambulance, said: “We have taken this decision after a great deal of thought and consideration. As a clinically-led organisation we have worked hard to ensure this will be undertaken sensitively, safely and responsibly.  

“We will be adhering to all government guidance for Covid-19, as well as guidelines issued by the Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising. 

“We appreciate these are difficult and highly unusual circumstances for everyone, so we’re incredibly grateful for any support the public gives.”

St John Ambulance recently announced the closure of a third of its buildings in an effort to close a £20m funding gap caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Other charities 

Other charities that are in the early stages of resuming face-to-face fundraising are CLIC Sargent and Guide Dogs. They both restarted at the end of July and stressed the importance of doing so, albeit safely and with all precautions in place, at a time when charities are under financial strain.

Guide Dogs also said the public has reacted well and initial results are positive.

Maria Novell, director of fundraising at Guide Dogs, said: “Our priority is always to ensure the safety of the public and our fundraisers. We planned a carefully phased return to face to face fundraising from late July and we are constantly monitoring and responding to the latest guidance from the government, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising and the Fundraising Regulator.
 
“Public feedback so far has been very receptive and the early results are positive. We are incredibly grateful for all the support we get from our donors and the public.”

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