Public Trust in Fundraising Methods Falls: What Can Charities Do?

15 July 2016 | By Cause4 staff

The recent Charity Commission Report into public trust and confidence in charities has shown that the overall level of trust and confidence that the public has in charities has fallen to the lowest level since the report began in 2005, a decrease from 6.7 to 5.7 out of 10.

Interestingly, one key element of the public response was the frustration they bore towards fundraising methods employed by charities. 18% of people trusted charities less because of pressurising techniques used in fundraising and 74% felt that some fundraising methods made them feel uncomfortable. The research indicates that ‘high pressure fundraising techniques’ were detrimental and made individuals less inclined to donate.1

What can charities do through their fundraising methods to increase public engagement and confidence? Partly the solution may lie in the modernisation of methods employed by fundraisers. Rather than utilising fundraising methods that involve continual follow up and numerous telephone calls, charities could look to the more innovative methods of donor focused money raising such as matchfunding, one-off cashless donations or digital fundraising schemes.

1. Match-funding

In match funding schemes trusts and corporates support charitable giving by providing a donation that matches the amount donated by an individual to a charity. This tactic is being very successfully used throughout current campaigns to incentivise individuals to donate. New research has indicated that matched funds draw a 37% higher response rate as well as a 63% increase in average donation. This type of fundraising is aimed at those who may be on the fence about making a donation, giving them increased incentive to give, knowing that their donation could double its value.

2. One-off Donations

The Charity Commission’s report indicated that more individuals would be keen to be able to make one off donations, rather than the monthly or annual regular donations favoured by charities. Perhaps innovations in digital technology such as those explored by Cancer Research’s contactless giving will start to make this kind of donation more possible? By replacing the traditional till-side penny tin this technology allows for customers with contactless cards to make one off payments at a fixed price of £2, allowing for charitable giving in the cashless economy.

3. Digital Fundraising Schemes

Digital fundraising schemes offer ways for those who donate to benefit for the convenience of contactless technology through making a micro donation that is linked to other payments. Schemes like easyfundraising have donated over £12million to their causes through donations that come from shopping with nearly 3,000 top retailers. Pennies – the digital charity box - has harnessed similar micro donation technology to gain over 28 million donations from customers that converts small change into charitable giving. Emily Foster’s blog post on effective digital fundraising provides more insight into such schemes. What becomes clear, however, is that as we become increasingly reliant on technology to make payments in our regular lives, charities will also need to adapt to these innovations if they are to maximise donations.

Overall a connection with the public, and the local community, is very important to charities’ operation. Whilst it is clear that the public do still value charities, the Charity Commission’s report indicates a change may be needed in their operating methods. Individual charities need to ensure they maintain public support; one method to address these concerns directly is through improving fundraising practices. Placing the public and donors at the heart of fundraising policies and strategy is key, and modernising the methods by which charities encourage and enable giving is necessary to achieve this.

Does the Charity Commission's report reflect your views and experiences? How do you think charities could gain more public trust? Leave your comments below, or tweet us at @OfficialCause4 to take part in the discussion.

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