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People prefer to be asked to donate in ways that avoid talking to a fundraiser

People prefer to be asked to donate in ways that avoid talking to a fundraiser

People prefer to be asked to donate to charity in ways that don’t involve interaction with a fundraiser, according to research published this week by nfpSynergy. They also think that the most direct fundraising approaches are the least effective.

The latest edition of the research consultancy’s Charity Awareness Monitor of 1,000 people shows that more than half of people find doorstep and telephone fundraising “very annoying”, along with more than a third for street fundraising.

Annoyance levels decrease as the fundraiser becomes less involved and the ask is delivered by printed materials, broadcast media or digitally.

While a third of people are upset at text giving requests, levels drop to 23 per cent for DM, through to 20 per cent for email, while a the bottom end of the scale, only around one in ten people find adverts, and online and broadcast ads “very annoying”.

There was a neat correlation between how annoying people found a method of fundraising, and how effective they thought it was. Generally speaking, if they didn’t like it, they perceived it to be ineffective. Doorstep, telephone, text giving and street fundraising were rated as the least effective forms of fundraising, while radio adverts, cash collections, newspaper adverts and online advertising were rated as most effective.

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People also prefer to be asked to donate via methods that don’t require a talking to a fundraiser. DRTV comes top of the list (32 per cent) followed by cash collections (28 per cent) and newspaper adverts (18 per cent).

Methods that involved interaction with an actual fundraiser came in way down. Only one in 100 prefers to be asked on the phone, two per cent on the door and 10 per cent on the street. And text giving fares equally badly, with only one in 50 people saying the prefer to receive SMS donation requests.

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Having said that, when asked a different question – whether they were “happy” to be asked via a particular method – the results were not so clearcut. Perhaps counter-intuitively, 28 per cent of people were “happy” to be approached by a street fundraiser, even thought 36 per cent found this “very annoying”. People were least happy to be approached via email, direct mail or via a newspaper advert.

A fifth of people said there were preferred not to be asked for money via any fundraising method.

Volunteer cash collections were, as ever, popular and seen as effective.

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Ian MacQuillin is the founder and director of Rogare, the fundraising think tank at Plymouth University's Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy. He has worked in fundraising since 2001 as editor of Professional Fundraising (2001-2006), account director at TurnerPR (2006-2009) and head of communications at the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (2009-2013).

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