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Frequently asked questions about face-to-face fundraising

  1. Why do charities use face-to-face fundraising?
    There is substantial evidence – much of it collated by our charitable partners – that face-to-face fundraising is one of the most cost-effective methods of fundraising currently available, comparing very favourably with other approaches such as direct mail, telephone fundraising, press advertising, DRTV etc.
  2. What are the benefits/advantages to charities of face-to-face fundraising?
    The benefits are many and varied. Face-to-face fundraising is cost-effective. Our charitable partners only pay for those donors successfully recruited. Secondly, it is a visible form of fundraising, helping to increase awareness of campaigns. Face-to-face fundraising means charities secure committed donors who will give for an average of five years. Some donors have been giving by standing order or direct debit for over 13 years. Moreover, face-to-face fundraising has had particular success targeting a younger generation of donors who respond better to this style of approach than to other traditional methods, such as tin rattling and direct mail. Increased efforts are being made to build relationships with those younger donors, cultivating a bond that could be maintained for many years. Its effectiveness is confirmed by the facts, which show that in 2002 alone, 690,000 new donors were signed up for charity in the UK using this method.
  3. If it is so effective, why doesn’t every charity use street fundraisers and why do some charities even stop using the method?
    Firstly, street fundraising campaigns are more cost-effective the bigger the campaign. For this reason, it can be less straightforward for some charities to get involved. Secondly, it must also be remembered that street fundraising is one of a number of fundraising methods and charities may not want to run concurrent campaigns using different methods, for a range of strategic or economic reasons. It may not benefit the charity to continually use the method; for some it may be more effective if used for certain timely campaigns.
  4. How much of the money given in the first year actually goes to the charity?
    All the money raised from donations, 100% of it, goes directly to the charity, which in turn reinvests a small part of it in future fundraising initiatives.
  5. Is it not time to put an end to face-to-face fundraising?
    Certainly not. If face-to-face fundraisers ceased to operate it would impact hugely on the ability of charities to carry out their valuable work. In some cases face-to-face fundraising represents 65% of a charitable organisation’s income. It is one of the most efficient ways for charities to achieve funding streams so necessary for them to deliver their valuable services. In 2002 it raised support worth over £240M to UK charities – money they would struggle to replace from other media, recruited through 690,000 new, long-term donors.
  6. How long has street fundraising like this been around?
    This fundraising approach was pioneered by DialogDirect in Austria in 1995 and has since spread globally. In the UK, DialogueDirect has been in operation since 1999.
  7. But doesn’t it cost 80p+ in the pound?
    Recruiting a long-term donor can be expensive in the first year. In the second year however, the cost of raising the money is effectively 0p in the pound, and this can continue for many years. The value over the “giving lifetime” of a donor is higher than through almost any other form of fundraising, and fundraisers would expect to raise £5 for every £1 spent on this form of fundraising over the first five years from the initial direct debit alone, not taking into account any further money the supporter will donate, for example to Christmas appeals. And fundraisers know that donors who support them through a monthly payment are the most likely to support them in other ways, such as through campaigning, or even leaving something in their will.

    Another benefit of this form of fundraising is that unlike mail-shots, newspaper advertising or television advertising, generally the acquisition is risk-free for the charity. The charity only pays for the donors they receive, instead of making a speculative spend in the hope that enough people will respond to the ad or mail-shot.
  8. Why don’t charities do this themselves or use volunteers?
    Many charities have found it more cost-effective to work with a specialist company, such as DialogueDirect Fundraising, than run teams of their own. Furthermore, charities do not always want to run face-to-face campaigns and an agency such as ours, can offer the resource tailored to the charity’s needs. One of the other key benefits of using an agency, is the professionalism of the staff and unpaid volunteers may not have had the same training as those employed by agencies such as DialogueDirect Fundraising.