Door-to-door fundraising agency, Home Fundraising Ltd, has today entered administration after being in operation for over 16 years.
From today all 16 regional offices have suspended operations and 600 staff have been entered into a redundancy consultation.
It is the latest in a number of agencies to collapse after charities made changes to the way they fundraise in the wake of the fundraising scandals of 2015.
Accountancy firm HW Fisher & Company has been appointed as administrators.
The company’s bosses said that a reduction in the size of the face-to-face fundraising marketplace and uncertainties around the UK economy had contributed to its financial problems.
Home Fundraising was working on campaigns for ten charity clients at the time of its collapse. It said that its fundraising services were contracted on a payment-by-results model, minimising the risk of liability to charity clients.
Its annual review for 2017/18 said it worked with 17 causes and recruited 150,000 new supporters.
Dominic Will, joint managing director of Home Fundraising, said: “We are deeply saddened that, after so many years in the sector, Home Fundraising must go into administration. In particular, we feel for our fundraisers and staff, who’ve been such passionate advocates for the charities we have worked with and have initiated so many long-standing donor relationships. Our staff have undoubtedly been Home’s biggest asset.
“It’s been an extremely difficult time for fundraising agencies in recent years, with the need to adapt to a dramatically changing marketplace. There is also considerable uncertainty within the UK economy to which very few businesses will be immune, particularly those that carry significant staff and infrastructure costs.
“Home’s business model and philosophy revolved around the direct recruitment and training of all fundraising staff, creating a workforce of experienced, talented and committed fundraisers. Ultimately, despite all of our efforts, we have been unable to reconcile the cost of adapting and downscaling within the capacity of the ongoing business. Taking the company into administration at this juncture is the most responsible course of action.”
Face-to-face has a future
Will added that in his view, face-to-face still had a place in modern approaches to fundraising.
“Although the scale of the overall face-to-face market has reduced, I strongly believe that dialogue channels remain a key part of the fundraising mix. Looking at the years ahead, there are so many societal challenges and opportunities relating to how we communicate with each other, how we pay for goods or how we donate to the causes we wish to support, that as a sector we simply have to be bold and keep engaging with members of the public.
“The future can and should be a bright one for face-to-face activity, providing that agencies, charities and all stakeholders work together to realise the opportunities and take a few risks along the way. Essentially we remain strong believers in the importance of charities having face-to-face contact with supporters and the depth that can bring to ongoing relationships.
“We would like to take this opportunity to give heartfelt thanks to all of our clients, our staff and sector supporters over the 16 years we have worked together.”
Neil Hope, joint managing director, added: “In our time, we have raised nearly £1bn for a fantastic range of causes and made a real contribution in essential areas including medical research, cancer support, child welfare, disability, animal protection and many others. We have also had the privilege of recruiting, supporting and developing many thousands of brave and committed fundraisers from a hugely diverse range of backgrounds.
“Our leadership training programme has helped many of these amazing people to build the confidence and skills to develop in their chosen career paths, both in and out of the charity sector. Despite the obvious sadness at this time, that is a legacy everyone connected to Home can be rightly proud of.”
Institute of Fundraising statement
Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “This is really sad news for the whole team at Home and for the fundraising community. Since it was formed in 2002, Home Fundraising has engaged millions of people around the UK in supporting vital causes here and abroad.
“Under Dom and Neil’s leadership they have also been committed supporters of the wider fundraising community and of the Institute, for which we are incredibly grateful.
“We know that door-to-door fundraising is one of the hardest jobs in the profession, and that the team at Home took training and development very seriously, so we hope that all of their highly skilled and committed fundraisers find alternative jobs within the profession.”