Written by: Shani Fowler
In the current economic climate, many of us are still struggling with meeting the financial demands for even the basics in life. There is always something to pay out in the household, things to buy for the kids, and cut backs are inevitable. However, many people still feel very passionate about charities and still kindly donate, many on a regular basis through their bank by a direct debit commitment.
Charities are a vital lifeline for many people and their work is invaluable. No one doubts that charities have a never ending uphill struggle to maintain and improve levels of donations from the public, but some are now playing a game of chance with their regular donors. What are they doing?
Well it seems that some charities are adopting new tactics in their fund raising and are writing to their regular donors to warn them of an imminent increase and asking them if they want to “opt out” of this increase. As the majority of us rush around in the manic day to day living, these letters can go unnoticed; we may think the letter is a circular or a charity update newsletter, one which you intend to get around to reading at some point. But if you don’t bother reading your letter within a couple of months your donation will increase without any authorisation from you.
Not only does this tactic seem a little lazy and uninspiring in terms of fund raising, it is also appears a little underhand; taking more from those who were kind enough to give in the first place. What charities need to realise is that they are potentially severely annoying many of their kind donors by taking money ‘from the back door’. To ‘opt out’ of an increase from something you have kindly ‘opted in’ to, is making the donation seem more like a bill and less like a voluntary contribution.
Charities should remind themselves that anyone can ‘opt out’ of their total commitment to a charity any time – it is completely voluntary. Would charities not be better focussing on a campaign for new donors rather than just taking more from the ones who have already shown a willingness and commitment to give?
Many of us commit to more than one charity by direct debit and for this practice to be adopted by the masses, could serve for people to pull the plug altogether from regularly donating, which will obviously be quite the reverse of their desired effect. Even though the increases may not be massive, it is a point of principle and still appears bad practice.
More creative fundraising
Charities have to raise money there is no doubt about that, and this must take a lot of hard work, determination and dedication. But there are better and more creative ways of raising money than simply taking more from those who already give. If charities want to avoid their kind donors suffering ‘charity fatigue’, they have to display better gratitude to the donors who already give, respect their donation and successfully campaign for new donors.