It has been five and a half years since the tragic death of Olive Cooke. Most fundraisers will remember the media furore that erupted in the months immediately following her death, when it was revealed she had been receiving close on 3000 mailings from charities in the course of a typical year. Family and friends noted that she had been upset and distressed by the volume of organisations constantly asking her for money. It turned out that Mrs Cooke had been supporting around 100 charities, and a quarter of those had swapped her details with others (FRSB 2016).
There can be little doubt that improvements have been made to professional practice; we are now taking greater care of the vulnerable, fundraising has become less intrusive, complaints about fundraising remain low and the much trumpeted Fundraising Preference Service is now withering from lack of use.
But much remains to be done. For sure, individual fundraisers care immensely about the experience of donors, but the same may not always be said of those who control the purse strings.
Adrian Sargeant, co-Director of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy, argues that the metrics organisations use to assess fundraising are still all about the money and shares ideas on how we can improve further.