Media presentation – FUND 535
Tuesday October 15, 2013
Let’s Get Personal: Face-to-Face Fundraising as a Trend in Fundraising
Article: “Can I ask you a Question?” by Mark Hrywna in, The Non Profit Times: The
Leading Business Publication for Nonprofit Management. Published June 15, 2010
Introduction to Presentation
Hey red shirt? Hey, do you care about children? Can I ask you question?
How many of you have been approached by a solicitor on the street trying to
get your attention and put in your headphones pretending you cannot hear
the canvasser? (Look for raised hands)
Now how many of you have actually stopped to talk to a canvasser?
And how many have actually donated from talking to a canvasser?
As it is evident in the class many of you dislike street canvassers, or Chuggers
(charity muggers) as many call them in the UK. But, the reality is, as much as
many people don’t like them, they are actually a very effective way of
receiving donations, and especially a successful way for charities to increase
their number of monthly donors.
Basic Facts of the Story:
What is face-to-face fundraising?
Face to face fundraising (f2f) is a way of soliciting donations through face-toface interaction with a potential donor.
The most common method is street canvassing, door to door and canvassing
in public places (such as malls)
Not all f2f interaction is done with a goal of monetary donation. Also done to
record support for a campaign or cause.
- Has been used for many years in Europe and has been very successful there
- Started becoming popular in American in 2010 (when this article was
published) and according the Globe and Mail they have been around in
Canada since at least 2002.
Why it works
According to Ken Mallett, the annual fund director at Oxfam America,
canvassing is a long-term investment, which pays off with increased brand
awareness, expanded constituencies and increased unrestricted revenue.
For every $1000 monthly gifts Oxfam receives, one million people see the
This means people that notice the canvassers and engage with the canvassers
may not become donors right then and there, but could be converted to
donors in the future.
Canvassing vs. direct mail: canvassers have the ability to have a conversation
with the donors.
Donors can be persuaded, but donors can also ask questions and engage with
the canvasser to learn more about the organization.
Cons of Face to Face Fundraising
- Initial start up fee can be expensive, especially if you are doing it in house
- Public attitudes towards your organization
Relevance to the Charitable Sector
Who uses it?
- Many organizations in Canada are now using face to face fundraising
- Some of them include: Sick Kids, Canadian Red Cross, Children International,
Plan Canada, Save the Children, World Vision, UNICEF and Greenpeace
Ways to do it:
o There are 3 main agencies in Canada that do face to face fundraising,
Fundraising Initiatives, TNI and Public Outreach Canada (POC)
They all provide similar services in providing and training staff
They also all target not only the streets, but indoor locations
(such as malls) and door to door fundraising.
TNI and Public Outreach Canada are focused on getting
Fundraising Initiatives, “Connects the right people to the right
product, service or organization, using proven face to face
approach” (will not ask for monthly giving for a 18 year old,
but one time gift instead).
- Some Canadian organizations do set up their face to face fundraising
program in house. This is beneficial because you do not have to pay an
agency to set up the program and hire staff, but the initial start up cost is
expensive. Greenpeace’s canvassing program is done in house.
- Also note: Street canvassers do no make commission (based on AFP and
Imagine Canada ethical codes) and pay starts at $13/h.
What are its Success Rates?
Public Outreach Canada guarantees between a 2:1 and 3:1 ROI (return on
investment over a five-year campaign.
2011 Stat- Canadian Red Cross,
o Estimates close to $9 million gross revenue from face to face
o Recruited ¾ of their 60,000 monthly donors
o Despite being annoying it is very effective!
2011 stat- Medecins Sans Frontier
o Half of 45,000 current monthly donors started giving “because of a
conversation they had with someone on the street or at their door.”
o Since starting their f2f campaign in 2002 they have recruited more
than 10,000 monthly donors and raised approximately $2 million a
o Average monthly gift is $17.00
Analysis beyond story:
How Do Canadians feel?
o HJC the Next Generation of Canadian Giving Report- 2013, shows that 32% of
those surveyed donated to a door to door fundraiser, and 22% donated through
a street canvasser.
o Although many have donated through this channel, the study also shows that
many Canadians see this method as an unacceptable form of fundraising.
Does f2f have to be with paid street canvassers on a street?
o F2F does not need to be limited to paid street canvassers knocking on doors,
standing on corners, or in malls.
o It also does not just have to be about gaining monthly donors.
o F2F can raise great awareness for your organization, without scaring people
Toronto Foundation for Student Success (TFSS)
o Weeklong campaign “Feed Tomorrow Week” to bring attention to student
hunger in Toronto.
o Students were in TTC stations collecting money for student nutrition program
and raising awareness for the problem.
o Students could interact with donors and raise awareness for their cause.
o Statistics are not in for the 2013 campaign which was last week, but in 2012 they
raised $8000 in one day.
PEOPLE GIVE TO PEOPLE!
1. Can all charities and non-profits benefit from using face-to-face fundraising?
2. What do you see are the benefits and limitations of using face-to-face
3. What are some ways you could adapt the popular technique of face-to-face
fundraising (on streets, malls and door to door) to make it successful for a
Although many people hate being approached on the street by face-to-face
fundraisers, it is a successful tool of engagement for many organizations. Next time
you get stopped on the street by a canvasser, you may want to stop, listen and learn
to how this approach could be useful to you in your future job as fundraiser.
Bielsku, Zosia. “Canvassers Take Cause to the Street” The Globe and Mail. Publisjed
Nov. 1, 2011.
Fundraising Initiatives: http://www.fundraisinginitiatives.ca/
Gadeski, Janet, “Will face-to-face canvassing work for your charity?” Hilborn.
PublishedNov. 30, 2011.
Hrywna , Mark “Can I ask you a Question?”, The Non Profit Times: The Leading
Business Publication for Nonprofit Management. Published June 15, 2010
Minuk, Amanda. “Street Fundraising- annoying or effective” Brand of Good.Published
May 4, 2012.
Public Outreach Canada: http://www.publicoutreachgroup.com/
Rovner, Mark “The Next Generation of Charity Giving: The Charitable Habits of
Generation X, Y, Baby Boomers and Civics” HJC Sept. 2013