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E-letters, Fundraising — June 17, 2014 at 12:03 pm

Fundraising Complaints are on the Rise



A new study out of the UK indicates that donors are losing patience with some fundraising tactics. While the study is focused on the UK, the principles can easily be applied to fundraising in Canada as well.

The Fundraising Standards Board saw complaints increase by 44% from 2012 to 2013. The worst offenders were direct mail, doorstep face-to-face fundraisers, and telephone fundraising, which traditionally make it hard to “unsubscribe.”

risequoteEmail fundraising, which grew by over 50% in the past year, saw the proportion of complaints decrease from 6% to 4% of all complaints. Part of the decrease is likely because email marketers are getting better at asking donors to opt-in from the start, and providing an easy way to unsubscribe with each email. After all, in Canada this will soon be enforceable by law.

The good news for small charities is that the overwhelming majority of complaints were directed towards large charities.

It’s also important to view these rises in complaints with a grain of salt, as the volume of complaints compared to the number of contacts is well under 1%. But that number should be small, as not many people will take the time to file a formal complaint against a charity, while many more will view a fundraising pitch (and by association a charity) negatively. This negative attitude towards fundraising could affect all fundraising efforts for non-offending charities going forward. So as a trend it’s important to keep these reports in mind.

At the end of the day it comes down to ethics: treat your donors with care and respect and your fundraising will continue to be viewed positively.

Find out more about fundraising best practices.


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