Seeing Campbell Robb, CEO of Shelter brought home to me why it’s essential the sector unites in defence of street fundraising. Shelter raises millions from their street collections. Unlike others they employ their own people to do the work, rather than an agency. They find this gives them more control and enables them to maintain a strong link with their fundraisers: so, for example Campbell meets with all 100 of them each year to talk about the mission. As he said, last time they met one of the group came up to him afterwards and said how relieved she was to discover he wasn't a w....r; "It would make it so difficult when I'm standing in the rain if I thought you were a twat".
He was clear how important this form of fundraising was to them at a time when they have had to cut back and make staff redundant. And as I told him; it works. I was signed up to Shelter by 2 charming guys outside Kings Cross. I'm glad I did it. And frankly I've never seen street fundraising a problem or seen any abuses. If you don't want to talk to them, that’s fine. Of course I realise some well heeled folk think it’s all a bit naff (and probably hate being reminded how mean they are by not giving more to charity) but if it works its good. I think I could also construct a compelling theological argument that shows that confronting people with their duty to give is good for them. So it’s a blessing not a curse. After all face to face fundraising takes many forms; from raffles in the Dorchester ballroom or the village fete, to asks at Brixton tube.
Moving on from Campbell I went, appropriately, to lunch with Sally De La Bedoyere of the street fundraising body. A good lunch and we swapped notes on the importance of defending street fundraising. As Stephen Cook put it in the recent Third Sector, "some people are chuggers- get over it!"
A pleasant interlude from all this was one of our regular new member lunches. Always fun to meet and great new ACEVO members; notable this time were the CEOs of St Mungos and Marie Curie. On that subject there have been some stunning new appointments to top third sector bodies of our own people. Matt Hyde from NUS to the Scouts and Simon Gillespie to the British Heart Foundation from MS. Both great people and active ACEVO members. Good luck guys!
And lunch today with Gillian Guy of Citizens Advice ; an organisation of distinction and a strong history; right at the heart of helping people battle with bureaucracy and the groping problems of welfare reform and cuts. But now it’s off to see my Chair for one of her regular catch ups with her CEO!