People in the sector probably didn’t want me to make my points, but they ‘resonated with the public’ says Grade

01 Jul 2016 News

Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator

Lord Grade has said that while his recent comments about fundraising may not have pleased people in the sector, he believes they “resonated very well with the donor and the consumer public”.

Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator (pictured), spoke to Civil Society News after the launch of the new independent regulatory body in London this morning.

He said that while he understood that some of his comments didn’t sit well with many in the sector, he reiterated that he was essentially reflecting the mood of the public.

“I think the point I was trying to make would have resonated with the public,” said Grade. “It may not have resonated particularly with individual people in the sector, who would probably rather that I hadn’t said it. However I think it will resonate very well with the donor and consumer public.”

Grade went on to say that the public are “invaded” every day of their lives by entities seeking to sell them something and that charitiers need to “be sensitive as anybody else to that consumer resistance”.

“The public are invaded on a daily basis through their phones, through their computers, through their mailbox and through people on the street. People are bombarded today and charities need to be as sensitive as anybody else to that consumer resistance that could get out of hand and be very counter-productive.”

He described his comments as a ‘cri de coeur’ for the sector, to “help charities understand the environment in which they are operating”.

“They are doing a non-commercial and vital job, but they are in the same space as a lot of hard-selling, commercial operators trying to sell their goods and services and, frankly, people are fed up with it.

"Charities need to be sensitive to that and they haven’t been so. Otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

When asked whether or not he appreciated that his comments could have been construed as being unhelpful by those in the sector, particularly given their timing just before the IoF Fundraising Convention and subsequent launch of the Fundraising Regulator, he said: “I’m sorry they feel that way.”

During a question and answer session after the launch of the Fundraising Regulator, Grade said that he and the Regulator’s board would look at re-examining the £300-a-day fee that board members are currently remunerated.

This came after Richard Leaman, chief executive of Guide Dogs, said there was disquiet in the sector about the FR remunerating its board members when most charities' trustees were volunteers.

Grade said that the board was currently remunerated in a way that was “as minimal as possible” but conceded it was an important point that the Fundraising Regulator should consider.


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