The Fundraising Regulator for England and Wales has announced its plans for introducing a Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) in 2017. This was one of the measures proposed within Sir Stuart Etherington’s review of UK fundraising that followed a series of fundraising scandals in the national press during the spring and summer of 2015.
Sir Stuart Etherington, chair of the Cross-Party Review, said:
“To protect the future of fundraising, it’s crucial we address the concerns of people who feel they or their relatives receive an unmanageable number of requests. The proposed FPS represents an easily achievable way to do this.
The FPS is intended to give members of the public greater control over the contact they receive from charities. The Regulator will notify specified charities of anyone who wishes to opt out of further communications from them and monitor compliance, through a largely automated system.
The sector has broadly welcomed the announcement, with the Institute of Fundraising’s chief executive, Peter Lewis, saying: “We welcome the approach the Fundraising Regulator has taken to create an FPS which we believe will work for the public, donors, charities and beneficiaries.”
Rather than the much-feared full ‘reset’ approach, which the sector had feared would prevent any charities from making contact an individual, the service will simply enable individuals to select the particular charities that they no longer want to receive communications from.
However, there has been some controversy over the fact that the service will apply not only to fundraising approaches, but to all communications from a charity to a named individual, except those where there is a legitimate interest (such as letters to volunteers or service users). The original consultation focused on fundraising communications, but the regulator stated that it would be difficult to define exactly what that constituted and therefore the FPS would cover a broader range of communications.
Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said:
“There is a growing realisation in the sector that appropriate consents need to be put in place and that the wish to opt-out must be respected.
“Once implemented, the FPS will be closely reviewed, including usage, value for money and donor feedback.”
See here for the full decision and a summary of responses to the FPS consultation.