Face-to-face fundraising is one of the most widely-used and most cost-effective methods of finding new charity donors, which is why it is used by some of the biggest household name charities such as the British Red Cross, to some very small and localised charities such as the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.
Charities need to find supporters who will give them a regular (usually monthly) donation through a direct debit or standing order. A regular income source such as this, from a wide base of donors, allows charities to predict their income with confidence and better budget their services to their beneficiaries. Such regular giving is much better for charities than running ad hoc appeals for cash.
Charities use many methods to find new donors, including direct mail, email, television, newspaper and poster advertising, some telephone and, of course, F2F.
More than 600,000 new Direct Debit to charity are taken out year through F2F, which has been particularly resilient during the recession - since the start of 2008, PFRA members have reported a growth in the total number of F2F sign-ups and some charities report that it is the only ‘donor recruitment’ method that works for them. In 2008/09, PFRA members companies secured 740,000 new charity Direct Debits, while the figure for 2009/10 is about 625,000.
F2F has also allowed charities to talk to and attract people who are not always responsive to the more traditional methods of fundraising, such as direct mail. It’s received wisdom in the charity sector that direct mail is an effective way to talk to the 55+ generation. But younger people want something more personal and interactive.
F2F gives potential donors the opportunity to meet and talk directly to a charity representative and, as a fundraising method, it is generally recognised to have allowed charities to engage with many more people in their 20s and 30s whom they would just not have been able to reach with direct mail.
The proof of the F2F pudding is in the eating. If F2F didn’t allow charities to find new supporters cost-effectively, then they would use some other form of donor recruitment instead.