In recent weeks charity fundraising practices have come under severe scrutiny. This comes in the wake of the death of 92 year-old Olive Cooke who, the Daily Mail reported, took her own life as a result of being incessantly harassed by charities for donations.
Since then, politicians and newspapers alike have questioned the ethics of fundraisers, especially with regards to: cold calling, selling and acquiring donor data and direct mailing.
At Bethany, we don’t view our donors as a means to an end. Rather, we see them as an integral part of the organisation. The relationship we have built with our supporters is based on trust and shared values.
We, therefore, want to be transparent about the way our fundraising team operates in relation to the practises that are making the headlines.
We never make cold-calls. The only instances when we would call someone are: to get back to someone who has contacted us or if someone is struggling to make an online donation. That’s it.
We never pass on, or sell address details to anyone. Neither do we buy data from third parties.
The only things we send in the mail are our Spring Magazine and Annual Report. People have the option to opt out of these two yearly mailings and to receive our e-news instead.
We do send 2 or 3 fundraising appeals but only to people who already know us and who have given us permission to do so.
We don’t believe that spamming people’s e-mails, interrupting them with phone calls or bombarding them with letters will help us in any way to establish the long-term relationship we seek to build with our supporters.
However, we are dismayed at the broad-brush portrayal of charity fundraisers we’ve witnessed in recent weeks.
The Daily Mail who first published Olive Cook’s story have recently had to own up to the truth in one of their articles when the pensioner’s grand-daughter “spoke out to defend charities, saying they were not at all responsible for her beloved grandmother’s death.”
It’s is no surprise that the Daily Mail has remained unapologetic; the summer is, after all, a dry time for sensational stories.
We too remain unapologetic about the work of our fundraisers. Hand on heart we can say that we operate in an ethical way and with high standards to build trust and loyalty with people who share our values and passion to change Scotland for good.