Fundraising Regulator Celebrates First Birthday with Launch of Fundraising Preference Service

THE Fundraising Regulator has today turned one year old and, to mark the occasion, has launched the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS). The service will enable individuals to block direct marketing communications from named charities.

Available both online and by phone, the FPS will enable members of the public to block post, phone, email or text communications from named charities. Individuals will also be able to use the service on behalf of a friend or relative.

The FPS will be managed by the Fundraising Regulator, who will contact charities on behalf of the user and request that the selected methods of communication are halted. The service was developed following a thorough process of consultation and development, which included feedback and testing from members of the public, charities and third sector stakeholders. It can be accessed online by visiting www.fundraisingpreference.org.uk or by contacting the FPS phone line on 0300 3033 517.

Stephen Dunmore, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said:

“The FPS will give individuals unprecedented control of their contact with charities and will enable members of the public to manage their consent. This service is crucial in an age when individuals can be contacted in far more ways, and with far more regularity, than ever before.

“The FPS will help further rebuild trust between members of the public and the charity sector. However it is not a silver bullet, progress is being made in how charities go about their fundraising, yet there is still much to be done.”

Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch said:

“The launch of the Fundraising Preference Service is an important milestone that gives people more control over how they are contacted by named charities.

“Charities and voluntary organisations do an incredible job for good causes across the country and this service will help them continue to fundraise responsibly, while protecting people from receiving unwanted requests.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said:

“The setup of the Fundraising Regulator and the FPS show that charities have taken concerns about fundraising seriously and worked together to turn things round.

“The Fundraising Preference Service is about doing the right thing. It’s only fair that if we’re asking the public to support us, we also respect their wishes when they don’t want to hear from us anymore.”

Charles Byrne, Director General of the Royal British Legion said:

“The Royal British Legion supports the Fundraising Regulator and its efforts to develop the Fundraising Preference Service as a means of rebuilding trust between charities and the public. The Legion is committed to upholding fundraising best practice and being as transparent as possible with our donors. We look forward to working closely with the Fundraising Regulator to implement these positive changes that will provide the public with greater confidence about the way in which charities communicate with them.”

The Fundraising Regulator has also released its annual review, which highlights the Regulator’s activities over the past year. The review notes that the Regulator has:

Received over £1.5 million from the sector to enable its set-up and to perform its regulatory activities Handled 713 complaints, issued eight decisions following investigations and published one adjudication, an investigation into Neet Feet Raised awareness of the Regulator and its role across the sector and wider society, through speaking at over 100 events, managing over 1,000 enquiries from the public and the sector, and creating a strong online presence Built positive working relationships with the Charity Commission, Institute of Fundraising (IOF), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The review also documents that, as of 31 March, 1,100 charities had paid the levy for the Regulator’s running costs. While this number has since risen to over 1,300, there are still about 500 charities yet to make their contribution. The levy is asked from all UK-registered charities that spend over £100,000 on fundraising activities. There has also been a positive reaction from charities who fall outside of the levy opting to voluntarily register with the Regulator, with over 700 charities signing up.

The review states that Ministers have taken reserve powers in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 to move to a statutory arrangement should charities fail to provide adequate support for the Fundraising Regulator.

Lord Grade, Chairman of the Fundraising Regulator said:

“The past year has been a highly successful, albeit busy, one. We are handling a large number of complaints, many of which are being settled through the Regulator working as a go-between between individuals and charities. The development of the Code of Fundraising Practice is essential and ensures that we have a modern, relevant Code for charities to operate to.

“We are grateful to all charities who have played a role in supporting us by assisting with our set-up and by paying the levy. This is a commitment to an ethical, regulated sector and good progress is being made. However, I would urge those who have not paid the levy to do so as soon as possible.”

Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising, said;

“Over the last year the Fundraising Regulator has made a positive start and established its role clearly in the minds of the fundraising community and with many members of the public. We welcome the overall approach the regulator has taken in their first year engaging with charity fundraisers to ensure we have an effective regulatory system. I am confident that they will build on this successful first year and continue to strengthen public confidence in fundraising for the future.

“While we must acknowledge that the large majority of charities are playing their part and have paid their levy and registered with the Fundraising Regulator, I cannot be clearer that those who still have not should do so as soon as possible.”

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