Is this fundraising call genuine?


By Carolyn Causton | Thursday 26 September 2013

Some supporters have called us asking if a telephone call from a fundraiser calling on our behalf is genuine. In these days of scams and nuisance calls, it’s important that the genuine calls from Alzheimer’s Research UK and other charities you support are easy to identify.

Here’s our top ten tips for checking that a telephone fundraising call is genuine:

  1. The caller introduces themselves by name and also mentions the agency they are calling from as well as the actual charity they are calling on behalf of.
  2. The caller uses the full charity name and can quote the charitable number quickly.
  3. They can refer easily to whether you have supported the charity before or not.
  4. The caller can give you the charity’s phone number (as published in phone directories and on the website) so you can speak to them too.
  5. They know what they are talking about – they talk specifically about the charity’s work, not generically about the cause.
  6. They may ask up to three times for a gift but should never use ‘high pressure’ techniques.
  7. They should send you a confirmation letter with all the charity’s details (not the agency’s) if you have agreed to a regular gift.
  8. Be careful of phone numbers beginning with 190. These are charged at a premium rate and can be very expensive.
  9. If there’s no call-back number or it’s a blocked number, the call most likely isn’t coming from a genuine charity or fundraising agency.
  10. If you are at all suspicious about a call, quite simply put the phone down.

At Alzheimer’s Research UK we sometimes use agencies to phone existing supporters to:

  • Ask them to consider giving a regular gift by direct debit
  • Ask direct debit givers about increasing their gift
  • Ask about reinstating a cancelled direct debit
  • Talk about gifts in Wills or invitations to events.

Our agencies are not currently asking for a one off cash gift over the phone, they only call on our behalf about regular giving.

If you are at all suspicious about a call, quite simply put the phone down.

Direct debit gifts are extremely important to us as they provide regular funds which enable us to fund research knowing that we have a certain level of income coming in. They are also extremely cost effective as they require a lot less administration. We want you to make your gift safe in the knowledge that you are supporting us with our vital research.

If you would like further information about donating by direct debit, our telephone fundraising or you do not wish to be contacted by phone or have a complaint, please contact Mark Housden on 0300 111 5555 or email

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Carolyn Causton