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Is it Over for Face to Face Fundraising?

Is it Over for Face to Face Fundraising?

Posted By: FIA
On: Tue 14 January 2014

With increasing attrition and more costly acquisition, is face to face fundraising (F2F) sustainable? This is one of the burning questions we put to some of our FIA Conference 2014 speakers and their answers are both varied and filled with great wisdom!

Luke Edwards, Director, Elevate Fundraising

It’s not over, however charities should focus on strategies to decrease their attrition as the main priority – and there are so many efficient ways to do this. Just increasing your engagement through Facebook can result in a decrease in attrition (as we’ve seen)…but then you need to understand your audience and Facebook to do this effectively.

Andrew Sabatino, Group Manager Business Development, Guide Dogs SA/NT

I wouldn’t say F2F is completely over – it really depends on a variety of key factors, such as market saturation, product strength, supplier fee structure, attrition management / donor engagement. 

In South Australia, we have been experiencing healthy growth rates in a market that isn’t overly saturated. However, any program has its life cycle, so you need to always be on the lookout for new growth opportunities. My colleagues in the eastern states might perhaps say it is over however?

Kirsty Graham, Director of Philanthropy, RSPCA QLD

People have been saying that F2F is over or soon to be for 10 years and I’m still yet to see any proof of it! If there’s another way to recruit regular donors at F2F volumes – please let me know!

Graham McKern, Territorial Director Endowment Fund, The Salvation Army

Was face-to-face ever sustainable? While lifetime value calculations indicate that there is worth in this form of acquisition, the jury is still out as to whether the charity brand is damaged over time from negative word-of-mouth publicity that plagues it. Certainly, responses that charities have to make to negative media stories about F2F often come across as very defensive - not a good look, and therefore not worth the investment in this channel, in my view.

Amel Bendeddouche, Fundraising Consultant, Ask2

It’s hardly over for F2F. Attrition is a given in all fundraising. Not every donor is loyal, or gives again, let’s get over it. Scale is much more important and F2F has the ability to deliver lots and lots of donors, with a stable, predictable income stream.

We would love to hear your experience and your thoughts on the topic of F2F in the comments below or on our Facebook page:

What do you think?





It's definitely not over for F2F. But for the sector as a whole and for individual charity F2F programs we need to focus on quality to keep F2F sustainable. Quality of representation and quality in donor care and retention are vital. If we let these things slip, then we risk losing long term sustainability.

People have been saying its over, nearly over and bad for brand for years then struggling to grow their RG programs, whilst F2F investors now have a large base of guaranteed income to work with. Working on retention and trying to open other volume RG streams is very important, but I'd caution -Pull out of F2F too early at your peril !

Is direct mail over? Is major gift fundraising over?

All forms of fundraising have costs and benefits/risks and returns. And all have periods in which the market is more or less favourable to them. What is important is that you know how to assess the cost/benefit for your organisation; how to decide which form of fundraising to invest in and when; and how we can work together as a sector to improve the professionalism and public understanding of all types of fundraising.

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