Charities have been steadily increasing their use of digital in the way they raise funds and communicate with donors in recent years.
This includes using social media for campaigning and to talk directly to supporters, as well as using sophisticated CRM systems to manage how donors are communicated with and how campaigns are run.
The use of digital channels escalated during 2020 and 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as charities increasingly relied on them due to lockdowns and restrictions on face-to-face fundraising.
But this growth in digital fundraising has coincided with a surge in complaints around the sector’s use of social media, websites and digital advertising in their fundraising.
According to Fundraising Regulator figures published in September 2021, a total of 56 charities reported receiving 5,836 online fundraising complaints for the year ending March 2021.
This is up 252% on the previous year’s figures and is the first time that online fundraising has been the most complained method of generating income reported by charities.
Over the last three years, online complaints reported by charities are up 357%, the regulator reports. Social media, advertising banners, and charity websites are the most complained about methods of online fundraising.
Public complaints to the regulator are still low, but on the rise, from 56 in 2019/20 to 84 in 2020/21. The regulator has pledged to act, include reviewing its Code of Fundraising…