Just over 40 per cent of people have a positive view of fundraisers, with less than 20 per cent holding a negative view, according to research published today by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF).
According to What does the public think of fundraising?, 41 per cent of adults surveyed said they feel either very or quite positive about the profession, while 18 per cent felt very or quite negative.
Some 36 per cent of respondents had neither a positive or negative view of fundraisers.
The poll was conducted by YouGov on behalf of the IoF, and sampled over 2,500 adults across 10 days between April and May.
Fewer than 1 in 10 have recently heard about fundraising
Only 7 per cent of the general public had recently heard, read or seen something about the fundraising profession.
Of them, 55 per cent said they had heard something positive, while 26 per cent had heard something negative.
Sources of fundraising insight include Facebook, where 30 per cent had seen information regarding the profession, national TV news (26 per cent), and friends or relatives (25 per cent).
Alex Xavier, director of professional development at the IoF, said: “The public are absolutely right in that fundraising is a profession where people can make a difference to society, but we need to think more about how we can demonstrate and showcase the career and skills development opportunities that fundraising can offer.”
More young people think fundraising is important
While 78 per cent of the public believe raising funds for charity is important, the research showed that over 80 per cent of 16 to 24 years olds thought so.
Asian and Muslim members of public were less likely than the general public to see fundraising as important, at 72 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.
However, white members of the public were more likely to see fundraising negatively than black or Asian, with 20 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.
Thirty-six per cent of disabled adults agreed that fundraising was important, against 28 per cent of non-disabled, and 36 per cent of women versus 24 per cent men.
Over a third would see fundraising more positively if it had a chartered body
According to the research, over one third (36 per cent) of the public would view fundraising more positively if it had a chartered body.
Xavier said: “There is a real opportunity with our planned journey to chartered status in making fundraising a more attractive career prospect, and we hope to work with schools, universities, and career development services to promote fundraising as a career.
“With a third of the public saying that they’d feel more positive about the fundraising profession if they knew that it had a chartered body, this provides us with a big chance to kick start the recruitment of the next generation of fundraisers.”
‘Building a fundraising team is challenging’
The research today is the first of two-instalments focusing on public perceptions of careers in fundraising, with the second to be published on Monday.
Rob Hayter, director at TPP Recruitment, said: “We are delighted to support the IoF in this research.
“Building a fundraising team is challenging; making it high-performing and then retaining its members is an often unachievable goal.
“We hope that the findings will help to educate and improve recruitment strategies and build a more successful and robust fundraising industry.”