10/04/2007 - 22:00

Not for profit: Securing long-term support

10/04/2007 - 22:00

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Face-to-face fundraising, where charity workers wield a clipboard instead of rattling a tin, seeking your credit card number instead of cash, is a rich source of funds for Western Australian not-for-profit groups.

Not for profit: Securing long-term support

Face-to-face fundraising, where charity workers wield a clipboard instead of rattling a tin, seeking your credit card number instead of cash, is a rich source of funds for Western Australian not-for-profit groups.

 

However, while there are no regulations prohibiting the practice in WA, the Charitable Collections Advisory Committee, which regulates street collections in the metropolitan area, is currently investigating whether face-to-face fundraising breaches the Street Collections Regulation Act 1940.

 

Under the act, charities may only undertake one appeal per year, with 50 days allocated for appeals annually.

 

Three organisations may appeal on the same day, meaning just 150 of the 634 licensed charities in WA are allowed to appeal in a year.

 

However, face-to-face fundraising enables organisations to campaign without restriction, generating revenue through membership sign-ups and ongoing donations.

 

Fundraising agency Cornucopia’s managing director, Gregor Drugowitsch, said the growing popularity of face-to-face fundraising in Australia was part of a worldwide trend.

 

“It’s generally recognised as the most cost-effective way of linking long-term supporters to these charities,” he said.

 

“It’s estimated that since 2000, (face-to-face fundraising) would have created about $1 billion in long-term revenue. It’s a very, very effective approach.”

 

Cornucopia has four clients in WA, while nationally there are around 20 organisations using the face-to-face approach, Mr Drugowitsch said.

 

These charities connect with between 150,000 and 200,000 people a year.

 

For WA not-for-profits such as Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Save the Children Australia, and the Australian Red Cross, this type of fundraising is an increasingly important source of revenue.

 

Amnesty International fundraising manager, David Armstrong, said the organisation had used a face-to-face fundraising agency in WA for about three years.

 

He believes face-to-face fundraising delivers a long-term impact.

 

“Asking people for a monthly contribution on a regular basis is much more effective than one-off donations. It’s more cost effective and more money is going to the charity,” he said. 

 

Save the Children Australia general manager of marketing and fundraising, John Derango, said face-to-face fundraising had been a major element of the organisation’s fundraising since it first tested the method in early 2002.

 

“This financial year we’ll make upwards of $20 million through this program, so it’s a major element of our income,’’ he told WA Business News.

 

‘‘A lot are donors recruited in the first campaign, so it’s a low-cost way of creating a long-term income.’’

 

Mr Derango said this type of fundraising was paid for by the organisation’s marketing budget, with all funds generated going directly to the charity. He said other types of fundraising provided no guarantee of financial return, whereas the face-to-face method ensured a return on every sign-up.

 

Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) chief executive officer Dr Sue-Anne Wallace said one of the benefits of face-to-face fundraising was its attraction to a different cohort of donors.

 

She said the face-to-face method attracted younger, male donors who were traditionally more difficult to access.

 

It also capitalised on instantaneous decision-making, requiring little paperwork.

 

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