A growing number of charities are sending fundraisers door to door to capitalise on the rise in people working from home.
Sign-ups for direct debit donations are expected to double pre-pandemic numbers this year, according to the Chartered Institute of Fundraising.
VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) and Oxfam are among the high-profile charities to have relaunched door-to-door fundraising during the pandemic, despite having said that they would not use the method, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Door-to-door fundraising is seen by critics as an invasion of privacy, particularly when elderly and vulnerable people are approached. Several household names, including Age UK, have said that they do not do it. The RNLI said it avoided this type of fundraising “due to concern over safety and public trust”.
Daniel Fluskey, director of policy and communications at the Chartered Institute of Fundraising (CIOF), said: “Since lockdown, people’s habits and ways of working have changed and we’ve seen door-to-door fundraising have some great successes bringing in new supporters and raising significant amounts of money at a time where it is really needed.”
He added: “Door-to-door fundraising is a brilliant and cost-effective way for charities to find new supporters, and for people to hear about the difference their donations can make. Thousands of people a month support a charity because of a conversation they’ve had with a fundraiser at their door.
“Initiating a conversation at someone’s door is something which fundraisers do responsibly and with care — they follow a code of fundraising practice which goes above and beyond the law — and must always be polite and respectful.”
Figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph showed that the number of sign-ups at the door had almost doubled over the past four months compared with the same period in 2019. In May this year, the latest month for which data was available, members of the CIOF recorded 30,669 sign-ups, compared with 17,933 in May 2019.
In 2016 William Shawcross, then chairman of the Charity Commission, said that charities should stop pestering people through aggressive street collecting, cold-calling and intrusive junk mail. “It cannot be right for vulnerable people, older people, generous people, to be hounded on the telephone, through the letterbox or in the street,” he said.
VSO and Oxfam said they had made the decision to restart door-to-door fundraising because it was one of the most “cost-effective” ways to recruit new supporters. Both also said that their fundraisers followed the code of practice.