Advancing the nonprofit marketing & charitable fundraising community since 1982

F2F core principles & best practices

Background

Face to Face (F2F) fundraising is a very powerful marketing channel. It is used to directly contact your potential donor in a public space and to engage them in a fluid conversation about your mission with a fundraising goal. As such, F2F has many unique benefits:

  • Because (F2F) involves true, real-time conversation, the individual fundraiser can think, anticipate and react directly to the behavior of the individual.
  • It’s flexible and timely, allowing organizations to communicate about issues of local and/or national concern — including late-breaking news or events.
  • It allows nonprofits to engage in street-level fundraising and activism to not only generate dollars but to also bring new activists to your cause, build awareness & PR, recruit for events and more.
  • Given the unique advantages of F2F, many charities have reported success using this new medium to increase monthly sustainer support.

Like all channels, F2F also presents challenges to those wishing to leverage this approach. Some involve implementation; others common questions that arise among those solicited along this medium. These include:

Current Concerns

  • Local ordinances; F2F may not be allowed in certain localities.
  • Brand impact from individual fundraiser representation; since F2F is a personal outreach, it is uniquely sensitive, and requires that solicitors practice a well-reasoned and respectful approach that meets our industries highest standards.
  • Questions about extent of donor’s commitment.
  • Complaints about aggressive asks
  • Transparency about investing in F2F and
    up-front costs
  • Also, common questions re: for-profit companies engaged in F2F:
    – financial % stake in the donation
    – fair treatment and compensation of employees
    – professionalism of the company

Given this backdrop, it’s important that those engaged in F2F engage in Best Practices and adopt Core Principles that reflect positively upon the general philanthropic community. The Nonprofit Federation recommends the following set of Principles and Best Practices for F2F, which should extend across all charities and their agencies engaged in this growing channel.

Principles & Best Practices

  1. Full Transparency. Your organization/company should be transparent regarding the identity of the F2F solicitor/paid worker, this must be provided to ensure trust. Fundraisers should wear a clearly visible identification badge that: includes their name and discloses who they represent. Ensure the name of the charity is provided, along with a website, phone number and/or address so that the donor may verify the validity of the organization, ask follow-up questions such as how their donation will be used by the organization, or to manage their donation. The F2F fundraiser shall inform donors fully, without omission, of the nature of their commitment and any ongoing donation schedule as applicable and not directly accept cash.
  2. Fundraiser Employment, Training & Expectation Setting. Charities engaged in F2F fundraising should commit to providing up-to-date information on the charity and charity expectations for the campaign. Agencies should use ethical, transparent and fair employment practices and should commit to providing on-boarding and fundraiser principles training. This training and fundraiser expectations include ensuring a charity’s ask, terms, conditions and descriptions are documented and accurately delivered. Such terms and conditions can be verified by providing written documentation, along with an email confirmation and/or providing a link to such terms and conditions.
  3. Solicitation Accountability. The charity and agency should have permission to solicit at all fundraising locations and should follow all solicitation rules and/or rules for public engagement as outlined by the location, including Door-to-Door (D2D). Both charities and agencies may be responsible for filing with states and/or municipalities to request solicitation and/or report on the financial outcomes of a campaign. All state and federal laws should be adhered to by both parties. Additionally, fundraisers will utilize and follow site rotation systems as available. If site rotation systems are not available in a given location, it is up to the agencies to coordinate use of a location.
  4. Respectful Communications. The communication to potential donors should be respectful and courteous. It is vitally important that the fundraiser operate with integrity and in a courteous manner, in compliance with an organization’s or charity’s brand, and not use pressure tactics to force the donor to donate, as well as avoid any false compliments or engagement tactics that could lead to distrust by the individual being approached. Professional F2F fundraisers should not solicit minors or other vulnerable populations who may be unable to make fully informed financial decisions.
  5. A Commitment to Handling Complaints. The charity should monitor its F2F and D2D fundraisers to ensure professional conduct. There should be a point of contact such as a website or 800 number for any complaints by the donor and an option to opt-out. It is very important that the organization provides the best experience for their potential donor and that any complaints or questions are be actively monitored and followed up on.
  6. Zero Tolerance for Disparagement. There should not be any disparagement of individuals by the F2F fundraiser. Any such behavior should be cause for immediate investigation and possible removal from a campaign. Disparagement of any person or group on grounds addressed by federal or state laws that prohibit discrimination is unacceptable.
  7. Accurate Supporting Materials. When used during a F2F solicitation any photographs, illustrations, artwork and the situations they describe should be accurate portrayals and current reproductions of the missions served. Charities should see and approve of pieces prior to use in a campaign.
  8. Fully Secure Data Sharing and Security. Individuals should provide permission for any data sharing with third parties. Data gathered by F2F should be properly secured by the organization or the company working on its behalf, both offline and online data.
  9. ‘Opt Out’ Choice for Consumers. The organization should honor requests by those who donated via F2F to opt-out of other solicitations upon donor requests and pursuant to the privacy policy of the organization.
  10. Responsible Community Stewardship. The organization and those working on its behalf should use proper methods locally to ensure they outreach with respect and based on appropriate time, place and manner restrictions. (For example, not fundraising directly outside a hospital treating critically ill patients, or at assisted living facilities.)
  11. Protection Against Harassment and Abuse. No one should be subject to harassment and abuse (physical, verbal, mental, sexual or otherwise.) The organization should have policies and procedures in place to protect against harassment and abuse of anyone, to support reporting of such abuse internally and to authorities as appropriate, and to ban any retribution or sanction against those reporting abuse. The policies and procedures for protecting against and reporting on abuse should be included as part of training programs.

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