Face-to-face fundraising is an Austrian invention having been first used by Greenpeace Austria in 1995.
In the mid-90s, Greenpeace Austria used an Austrian fundraising agency called DialgogDirect to find new donors by door-knocking.
On one particularly hot summer day in 1995 in northern Austria, one team of fundraisers found repeatedly that no-one was answering the door. They realised that everyone was out enjoying the nice weather and so the fundraisers decided to relocate themselves to the local swimming pool to find the people who were not at home.
And so a new fundraising technique was born. Greenpeace Austria repeated their street fundraising campaigns in Vienna, then other parts of Austria (400 new supporters were recruited at a Rolling Stones concert).
The following year, with Greenpeace Austria repeating their street fundraising campaigns, staff presented this new form of fundraising at a Greenpeace international skills sharing conference. Initial response from other national branches was sceptical, but it soon caught on, first with Greenpeace Austrialia, and with Switzerland, Hong Kong and the Czech Republic soon following suite.
By 1997, it reached the UK with fundraising agency PTF running a campaign for Greenpeace UK in Brighton. It wasn’t long before other UK-based charities were using the technique.