The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA) reports that its members recruited 863,407 new Direct Debit donors in the financial year 2011/12. This record figure is the first time that over 800,000 donors have been secured within 12 months in the 11-year history of the PFRA.
Doorstep face-to-face fundraising achieved its most successful year to date, increasing by 11.7% to 625,134 donors; and street face-to-face fundraising grew by 39.7% to 238,273 donors, its best year since 2003/04.
The greatest growth overall was achieved in Scotland, with donor numbers rising by 32.7% for doorstep face-to-face fundraising and by 34.3% for street face-to-face fundraising. The biggest leap of all was the growth in street fundraising outside London, with an increase of 65% (50,686 donors) to 128,643 donors.
PFRA’s head of communications, Ian MacQuillin, said that the year's donor recruitment figures were "truly astounding" given the current economic condition. "These new donors," he said, "will be worth millions of pounds in regular income to charities over the next few years, allowing them to budget for the services they provide to their beneficiaries."
He added: "Face-to-face fundraising has thrived during the recession, which goes to prove the fundraising adage that ‘people give to people’. No matter how much you try to nudge people into giving a few pence here and there by rounding up their restaurant bills or prompting a couple of quid during an ATM withdrawal, there's little as effective as a real person passionately engaging with you about the cause."
Growth in street fundraising
The majority of donors have been recruited on the doorstep, with 72% being generated this way (625,134 donors compared to 238,273 on the street). Yet street fundraising is enjoying a resurgence, following two years in a row in which the annual total dropped below 200,000. Now the total is back to the levels of seven or eight years ago.
MacQuillin attributes this to fundraising agencies taking on more fundraisers and making the most of even those sites that can accommodate fewer fundraisers on fewer days.