Door-to-door fundraising sign-ups rose by 62% in 2022, CIoF figures show

10 May 2023 News

By Halfpoint/Adobe

Door-to-door fundraising sign-ups increased by 62% from 2019 to 2022, according to figures from the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIoF).

Figures provided by charities and agencies that work with the CIoF show door-to-door annual sign-ups were 199,576 in 2019 compared with 324,116 in 2022.

Conversely, street sign-ups dropped from 70,210 in 2019 to 31,560 in 2022, as did regular giving, from 348,342 to 224,678, CIoF’s figures suggest.

The rise in door-to-door fundraising could be linked to an increase in people working from home and has been seen as controversial by some charities, with RNLI and Age UK pledging to stop the practice altogether.

The Fundraising Regulator’s latest annual complaints report showed that complaints about door-to-door fundraising had more than doubled year-on-year in 2021-22 as such activity returned following the government’s lockdown measures.

CIoF says in a new guide on face-to-face fundraising that despite this increase in door-to-door fundraising complaints, only one complaint was made for every 9,700 households visited.

Face-to-face fundraising risks 

CIoF’s new guide highlights some potential risks for charities from face-to-face fundraising generally.

It says this form of fundraising “requires close management and compliance with regulation”.

There are some risks, and while “these can never be eliminated entirely” they can be “mitigated”.

Fundraisers should “ensure continual high standards and compliance so that any dislike from the member of the public is subjective rather than being caused by bad practice, and to ensure you have clear processes for monitoring and dealing with these complaints”.

The guide adds being part of a mystery shopping programme is a really important way to monitor how the public experiences your face-to-face fundraising.

However, Daniel Fluskey, director of policy and communications at the CIoF, writes in a forward to the new guide: “As well as being effective, face-to-face fundraising delivers proven value for money, with the cost of activity returning many times its value over the lifetime of a donor’s support.”

Long term investment 

The guide states: “From engaging new and diverse audiences to building brand and awareness, there are clear benefits to face-to-face fundraising that can lead to a more stable and sustainable future for your organisation and its beneficiaries.”

Like all fundraising methods, face-to-face requires a level of up-front investment in order to raise funds further down the line, states the guide. 

“While it may take longer than some other methods to reach a positive return on initial cost, the overall return on investment is significant and long-lasting”.

The guide states face-to-face fundraising needs careful planning, supported by sufficient investment and training. 

Agency or in-house

CIoF’s guide reads: “A key question to ask is whether you’re going to work with an agency or run your face-to-face fundraising in-house, and there are advantages to both.”

For example, agencies can offer specialist knowledge and valuable experience, and are also likely to have access to innovative technology, it says. 

“However, it is critically important to invest sufficient time and effort at the start of a campaign in ensuring fundraisers understand the cause and campaign proposition. It is also strongly advised for the charity to be actively involved in training programmes and in the creation of campaign materials,” the guide adds.

In-house teams “are in your immediate control, and can be closer to your brand and mission” and can help fundraisers with career development in the team, it says.

It adds: “A face-to-face fundraiser may be employed by a charity directly, or work on their behalf through a professional fundraising agency. In either case, they have an important role to play as a public face or ambassador for the charity and its brand.”

The guide states if face-to-face fundraisers are employed in-house, particular attention should also be paid to employee engagement and retention. 

“Good recruitment practices, programmes to promote wellbeing, and a culture of recognition and appreciation for what face-to-face fundraisers are doing by colleagues across the organisation are all initiatives and interventions which will foster a positive and successful working environment.”

'Face-to-face fundraising has long proven effective'

The Fundraising Regulator said: “Face-to-face fundraising has long proven effective as a tool for charities to raise funds and it plays a vital role in raising awareness and sharing information about a charity’s causes and purpose. So, it’s encouraging to see this guidance accompanied by figures showing an increase in face-to-face fundraising compared to pre-pandemic figures in 2019.

“We encourage charities to maintain excellent standards while raising funds, especially take responsibility for ensuring their face-to-face fundraisers have received the proper training and possess any necessary certification, such as a licence from the local authority.

“Along with partners such as the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, we will continue to work so the public has confidence and trust in fundraising, and charitable fundraising can thrive.”  

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