The number of complaints received by the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) has risen over the last year, increasing by 8.2% according to their annual report. Four main areas create the most problems; direct mail, telephone fundraising, clothing collections and door to door callers. Of these, direct mail is responsible for the most issues, although complaints about clothing collections have increased the most during the period (approximately 50%).
There are several potential reasons for the rise. The first reason is that it is now much simpler to complain than it ever was before. People can quickly and easily send an email to a relevant charity or the FRSB themselves. Charities are also logging complaints more clearly than ever before. The second, and most likely reason, is that organisations are asking more regularly. This means that people are being contacted more often, whether it is at home or in the street.
The most surprising finding from the FRSB report is that many smaller charities report no complaints at all whereas 25 – 30 of the largest organisations account for almost half of them.
Charities seeking to contact people to build support and acquire donations need to be very careful or they can easily end up finding complaints on the rise. It is important to follow best practice guidelines and even exceed them where possible.
The people most likely to complain are those who are contacted multiple times. If you don’t receive a response you should assume that they are not going to support you and stop contacting them. Charities should give people the chance to opt out of mailings so they are free to decide if, how and when they get contacted.
Telephone fundraising can be a fantastic cornerstone of a campaign but it needs to be handled carefully. To achieve this it is good to work with a specialist telephone fundraising agency with experience of using the medium. At QTS we strive to provide the best level of service and support to charities, ensuring their telephone operations are delivered in the right way. We follow best practice guidelines and have an experienced team to ensure callers always have someone pleasant and knowledgeable to deal with.