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Charityfacts

Coin placed in a charity collecting bucket
Coining it in with a charity collection bucket – with a lid and seal of course

A new initiative to educate the public about the realities of fundraising, charity administration and giving has been launched at www.charityfacts.org

· Why are there so many charities?
· Why do they need to spend their money on fundraising and administration?
· How do techniques such as direct mail and street fundraising work?
· How good are these techniques at raising funds?

These are among some of the questions that will be answered on a new independent website due to be launched on March 18th. Charityfacts.org is designed to provide detailed information to donors about what to expect from the organisations they support and to dispel some of the current myths about fundraising and giving. The site will also outline best practice in fundraising and provide information on the steps individuals can take if things should go wrong.

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The site will meet a very real need for education and information. Donors remain very concerned that charities may be wasteful and want as high a proportion of their gift as possible to be applied to the cause rather than being spent on other functions such as fundraising and administration. Over 90% of the public believe there should be stricter controls over what charities can spend on these activities, yet recent research at Bristol Business School has shown that this is because they greatly over-estimate the amounts that charities actually spend on these activities. Given that the public believe, for example, that it costs twice as much to raise a £1 as is actually the case, it is unsurprising that there have been such strong calls for greater controls over fundraising activity.

The goal of charityfacts.org is to provide an authoritative source of information on this issue and others that have a critical impact on public trust and confidence in the voluntary sector as a whole. Providing a wealth of information on everything from the rationale for expenditure on administration to why charities sometimes include pens in their mailpacks, the site is designed to build trust and stimulate confidence in giving. It is written in plain English and is free of jargon to make it accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

Specific sections will cover what to expect from various forms of fundraising, providing donors, prospective donors, media contacts and researchers with the questions they should ask, plus ‘behind the scenes’ information on charity performance figures and how these should be used and interpreted. Charities will be encouraged to link to the site, giving their donors/prospective donors access to an independent and unbiased source of information for answers to their questions.

Charityfacts.org is an independent initiative led by Professor Adrian Sargeant (The UK’s only Professor of Nonprofit Marketing and Fundraising).

The initial development has been funded by a small group of major UK fundraising charities (Cancer Research UK, NSPCC, British Red Cross and RSPCA) and is endorsed by the U.K’s professional body for fundraisers, the Institute of Fundraising.

The site is due to launch on the 18th March 2005. For further information contact Adrian Sargeant on 01884 34888 or 07973 829851 or Ad*************@uw*.uk

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