A commitment to fundraising excellence

A commitment to fundraising excellence

Sam Boyle | 12 December 2018

Our research into public fundraising shows that the hard work of our members - both charities and agencies - is paying off. Sam Boyle, IoF's Policy and Information Officer, explains the success of the compliance framework in driving standards and inspiring charitable donations.

Public fundraising is an amazing way of reaching new supporters and bringing in revenue for charities. For all the undoubted opportunities provided by innovations in online fundraising and mobile technology the power of a one-to-one conversation between two people should never be underestimated. The opportunity to talk directly with someone, explain the work of the charity, respond to questions, raise awareness of a cause, and make a connection which can spark a lifetime of support is hugely important. In 2017/18 alone, 864,500 people from across the United Kingdom made the decision to donate after speaking to a public fundraiser face to face or over the telephone.

For many people, a conversation with a public fundraiser will be their first time learning about a cause or a charities work. And, as the saying goes, first impressions count. People rightly expect to be treated politely and with respect when they are asked to give money – and charities are striving to ensure that their fundraising not only reaches the standards expected by the Fundraising Regulator, but also give supporters the best experience possible.  

With public fundraising being such an important part of many charities’ strategies, you won’t be surprised to hear us say that it needs to be accompanied by an effective system of compliance.  As part of our work to support public fundraising, the IoF has a number of programmes to monitor and improve practice – and as the report out today shows, there is a positive story to tell. We’ve seen year-on-year improvement in fundraising standard through our mystery shopping programme (which has now expanded into private sites), local councils agree that our Site Management Agreements are effective and working, and the first year of our Self-Certification Programme is proving to work.

Compliance programmes are improving practice

Our research shows that the hard work of our members (both charities and fundraising agencies) is paying off. Over the last three years, the number of Mystery Shopping penalty points handed out to organisations participating in Street Fundraising have declined year on year, showing continued improvements. We’ve now expanded that to private site fundraising which is also showing a similar trajectory or improved practice. As a result of our work in partnership with our members, this means that fundraisers are continually improving to meet the regulatory standards required.

We are also pleased to report that local councils are giving positive feedback on the Site Management Agreements (SMA’s) we have in place across the UK with 92% of councils saying that they believe their SMA has been effective or very effective, and almost two thirds (63%) reporting that there have been fewer complaints reported since our agreements have been put in place.

And our close work with members in our new Public Fundraising Certification Programme is showing a positive impact on organisations’ fundraising practices, with over 70% of respondents who have participated in the scheme saying that it has improved their fundraisers understanding of compliance issues in fundraising.  

We’re really encouraged with the progress that is being made, but of course we must not be complacent. There is still room for further improvement and we will look continue improve and strengthen our existing programmes to best support our members. We need an effective compliance system that works to complement the Fundraising Regulator’s role and are committed to deliver this for the benefit of the fundraising community and to ensure the best experience for supporters.  

Read the report in full: 'Achieving excellence in public fundraising'.

Sam Boyle, Policy and Information Officer at the IoF