By Sarah Dundas
Street fundraising has always been a controversial issue. With a 5-day a week ban coming into force in Burnley town centre, the issue is once again at the forefront of people’s minds. But is it really the public nuisance some people make it out to be? Or is it, in fact, a positive, legitimate way for charities to find new donors?
According to the Public Fundraising Regulatory Authority (PFRA), almost 35% of the £130m pounds raised annually by charities is done so through street fundraising. What this fails to take into account, however, is the flat fee (of around £90) which the fundraising agency then charges the charity. With the fact to consider, then, that it will often take a year of small monthly donations for any given charity to gain back the cost of street fundraising for each individual donor, it is unfortunate that between 10 and 40% of donors recruited in this way will terminate their standing order within the first year.
There is surely a compromise to be made between the charities seeking to raise money for good causes, and the general public and local businesses, who wish to be allowed to continue their daily activities without disruption. In the face of mounting controversy, Islington council has opted to revoke its proposal for an all-out ban on street fundraising in favour of a policy limiting their hours. With Burnley council recently adopting a similar proposal, should other local authorities seek to resolve the perceived problem of face-to-face fundraising in the same way? Is a part-time ban the correct solution? Let us know your thoughts!