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Response to The Courier Mail

13 June 2017

FIA responds on behalf of the fundraising sector to articles published in The Courier Mail from 10 - 12 June.

Dear Editor,

We would like to respond on behalf of the fundraising sector to the articles published in The Courier-Mail over the last few days, in particular It’s the drift of giving (10 June), Charities spend up to 83% of donations chasing more fundraising dollars (10 June) and Calls to end duplication in crowded charity sector (12 June).

Fundraising Institute Australia (FIA) is the national peak body representing professional fundraising in Australia, a sector that employs more than 1.2 million people, saves government social welfare budgets billions of dollars and provides much-needed support to our poor, sick and underprivileged.

Unfortunately, articles such as the aforementioned – which comprise a table populated with inaccurate data and accuse charities of “spending unnecessarily” – do a great disservice to the organisations working to benefit those most in need. Excluding bequests from total fundraising revenue and failing to separate different fundraising activities with different cost profiles, creates a false and misleading impression of the cost of fundraising.

There is no clear accounting standard for reporting fundraising costs; each charity is left to decide how best to allocate costs given its responsibility for accountability and transparency when dealing with the public. This very point makes charities unique in how they present their accounts as they subscribe to a higher standard than that which applies to the corporate sector.

Charities may invest more in acquiring new regular donors – just as a business may invest more in acquiring new customers – in a given year. As there is a long tail to these donations, it is meaningless to make year-on-year comparisons.

Brewing public distrust in the sector and undermining public confidence will do damage well beyond the professional fundraisers at the coalface; ultimately, those who bear the brunt will be society’s most vulnerable. It especially regrettable that one of the charities singled out for attention is Australia’s oldest, with over 200 years of proud history supporting the less fortunate in our community.                                            


Kind regards,

Rob Edwards

Chief Executive Officer

Fundraising Institute Australia

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