Half of people very annoyed by doorstep and telephone fundraising

Almost one in two people find it ‘very annoying’ to be asked to give to charity on their doorstep or over the telephone, according to new research. A third of people also dislike being approached to sign up to a charity in the street, with collection buckets the preferred way to be asked for money.

The research, carried out by consultancy nfpSynergy, revealed that 48% of people find doorstep and telephone fundraising very annoying and only one in 10 say they understand it’s an effective way to raise money. Telephone fundraising also has the highest ‘net annoyance score’ (40%), a rating that takes into account both those annoyed by a particular fundraising method and those who understand its effectiveness. Adverts and newspaper or magazine leaflets are the most popular with a net annoyance score of -24%.

35% of people say they are very annoyed about being approached by a street fundraiser and over a quarter are bothered by text messages asking for cash. Other methods that irritate the public include mailers or letters (22%), emails (20%) and online adverts (14%).

The new data, based on a survey of 1,000 British adults, did show that some fundraising methods sit well with the public. Over a third were happy to be asked to donate as they pass collection tins or charity buckets, while around one in five are happy with leaflets or television adverts.

People were also asked how they would want to be asked to give. Just over a quarter said they preferred via street cash collections and TV adverts, while around one in seven favoured leaflets and emails.

  • More than half of people are ‘very annoyed’ by doorstep fundraising and telephone fundraising (both 48%) (slide 2)
  • There is a net annoyance score (those annoyed minus those who understand it’s a worthwhile way of collecting money). Top of that is telephone on 40% and doorstep on 36%, while adverts/leaflets are the least annoying on -24% (slide 3)
  • A third (35%) get very annoyed when approached on the street by a fundraiser (slide 2)
  • Other irritations include mailers or letters (22%), emails (20%) and online adverts (14%) (slide 2)
  • 35% were happy to be asked to donate via a cash collection/collecting tin, while 20% are happy with TV adverts and 18% are happy with adverts/leaflets (slide 4)
  • 28% said they preferred to be asked for money via a cash collection on the street, 26% via TV adverts and 15% through appeal mailings, leaflets or emails (slide 5)
 

nfpSynergy’s Driver of Ideas, Joe Saxton, said:

“This data is yet another sobering reminder of the irritation fundraising can cause and it’s become all too tempting to chase that extra pound without worrying about the long term damage. The Code of Fundraising Practice is a perfect example, where ‘no cold calling’ stickers are still seen as measures that don’t apply to charities.

The good news is it is possible to change how people see fundraising. A decade ago, street collections were widely despised, but now a fifth of people understand they’re effective, even if they don’t really like them.

Charities simply must listen to donors and the public because ignoring today’s irritation only makes it more difficult to raise funds tomorrow.”

 

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