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Public education still needed to allay concerns over charities' expenditure, says FRSB

Research on attitudes to charities commissioned by the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) has found that many are still concerned about how their donations are spent and whether charities are accountable for their fundraising practices. The self-regulatory body is therefore encouraging charities to continue to try to educate donors about fundraising and charities’ efficiency.
The TNS OnLine Bus survey of 1,078 adult donors across Great Britain found that the top three concerns of charity supporters are:
1. how their donations are spent (68%)
=2. whether charities are accountable to fundraising best practice (59%)
=2. the fact that charities spend money on administration and fundraising (59%)
Those aged 45+ had the greatest levels of concern – 74%, 69% and 64% respectively for the above three issues.
Alistair McLean, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said of the findings: “The sector is incredibly efficient, resourceful and innovative in the way it spends money and its overall approach to fundraising. But, donors need to understand how it all works; where the money goes, that it costs money to raise money and that that is ok. If we are to alleviate donor’s concerns and build trust and confidence, we need to educate the public, conveying just how committed charities are to best practice, professionalism and accountability.”
The survey suggested that the public value the role of an independent body like the FRSB. More than twice as many donors said that they would feel comfortable complaining to an independent body (54%) than they would a charity directly (22%). Indeed, 24% of donors said that they would not feel comfortable complaining about a charity’s fundraising. Sixty percent said they would trust the charity sector more if all charities were members of the FRSB; and 57% said they would trust a fundraiser more with a professional fundraising qualification.
McLean commented: “Charities need to do their bit by ensuring they are open and receptive to all donor feedback; the good and the bad. And, as a sector, we must move away from the idea that complaints are a bad thing”.