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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Oxfam scraps doorstep fundraising

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The income generated is no longer enough to justify it, the charity says.

Oxfam has scrapped its door-to-door fundraising programme saying it doesn’t raise enough money.

The charity’s director of fundraising Tim Hunter confirmed the policy to TFN saying money generated from the practise was not enough to justify it any longer.

It is unclear how much of a hit the charity will take in income as it refused to reveal how much the fundraising method generated in the last year.

However, Oxfam’s former acting director of fundraising Andrew Barton did reveal in 2014 that between 2009 and 2014 the charity’s relationship with fundraising agency Home Fundraising saw £6.5 million raised through 63,000 donors.

Public fundraising has though had a somewhat torrid time reputationally since then with negative headlines surrounding the conduct of some charities particularly after the death of 92-year-old poppy seller Olive Cooke who was pestered with requests for cash and revelations of poor practise at call centres fundraising for large household name organisations.

The public's response to this approach, and therefore fundraising performance, was not enough to justify our efforts

"We are constantly looking at how best to raise funds for our work helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world,” Hunter told TFN.

“While we worked to try to improve door-to-door fundraising, the public's response to this approach, and therefore fundraising performance, was not enough to justify our efforts so we will look at investing in other areas."

It was reported in December that Oxfam’s partnership with Home Fundraising had come to an end but the latest announcement is the first time it has been confirmed that the charity is completely scrapping door-to-door fundraising.

Last week the Public Fundraising Association (PFRA) revealed the number of people signing up to donate to charities by face-to-face fundraising – either on the street or the doorstep – had fallen to the lowest levels since 2009/10.

Donors recruited by door-to-door fundraising, it said, fell by over 15% last year to 583,330.

Donors recruited on the street dropped to 128,099, a decrease of 15.9%.

Peter Hills-Jones, the PFRA’s chief executive, said there was little doubt adverse publicity had affected donors.

"There’s been an additional degree of hostility on both the street and people’s doorsteps, and at least part of that is widely attributed to some of the news stories we had last year,” he said.

"Even though most of the stories were about telephone fundraising, there is a general feeling that charities are finding it harder to get their messages through, that there is more resistance from people on the streets to stop and engage in those conversations."

Other charities, such as the RNLI, have ditched direct fundraising such as cold calling from door-to-door and moved to a model where individuals have to choose to be contacted by the charity.

It forcasted a £35m loss over the next five years but says it will plug the gap by dipping in to its reserves.



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