In the wake of recent news stories about charities in the last 18 months, we are in a new era of fundraising. More and more questions have been asked of the charity sector and organisations are reviewing their fundraising practice. One big change is that we now have a new regulatory body, the Fundraising Regulator, which sets the codes of fundraising practice and investigates complaints. The areas that have been particularly affected are around data protection and ensuring charities get consent to marketing. So in a time when charities are being put under the spotlight, why is ethical fundraising so important?
1. Ethics underpin the new fundraising regulator
Concerns were raised about the way certain charities had been fundraising after the events of summer 2015 and there were calls for a body to regulate the way charities approach their donors. With the inception of the Fundraising Regulator, it has never been more important to get on top of the proposals for stricter regulation and the fundraising preference service. If you don’t know what safeguards to put in place or what risks come with new appeals, you may find yourself in hot water, therefore getting your head around ethical fundraising can prove vital for all charities.
2. It is the right thing to do
From a purely moral perspective charities should be practicing ethical fundraising from the get-go. On the whole, charities are values driven organisations and we should ensure that these values are reflected in the way we approach fundraising. Quite simply, it just doesn’t make sense for a charity that is built upon empathy and kindness to then fundraise in an immoral way.
3. It protects and enhances your charity’s reputation
If your charity is caught up in a fundraising scandal it makes it 10 times harder to achieve your charity’s mission. Whereas, if ethical fundraising has been at the centre of your fundraising practice from the beginning, you will be more able to establish yourself as a trustworthy organisation. If your charity can prove they are a reliable source, beneficiaries will feel comfortable using your services.
4. Better donor relationships, retention and development
By establishing your charity as a trustworthy organisation you will also be more likely to create better relationships with your donors. Potential sponsors will begin to support you mission without any doubts about how their money is being used. In fact, if your supporters respect your charity they are more likely to give again and again, and give more. Ethical fundraising will ensure donor retention and the potential for developing the relationship with your donors can expand.
5. You’ll save money
Bombarding your potential or existing donors with free gifts and appeal letters can turn people off giving any money to your charity at all. If you continue to use this tactic, you are wasting valuable time and resources by targeting those who don’t want to hear from you. Ethical fundraising practice will ensure that you are reaching the people that want to connect with you and who are therefore more likely to pay attention to your appeal. You may be mailing fewer people, but if they are open to hearing from you, it will prove to be extremely cost effective.
About Kathy Roddy
Kathy has been a professional fundraiser for over 17 years and has been developing and delivering fundraising training for the past 12 years. She also works with clients helping them to develop fundraising strategies and tailor funding applications. Kathy is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and holds the Certificate in Fundraising Management. Kathy specialises in fundraising strategy, trust fundraising and raising money from individuals.