Call for new doorstep fundraising rules

Person ringing bell

The FRSB has called for a review of doorstep fundraising rules after an investigation into a Marie Curie fundraiser

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12th May 2014 by Susan Smith 3 Comments

The code of conduct for doorstep fundraising should be updated, the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) has argued, following an investigation into a complaint made about a fundraiser working for Marie Curie Cancer Care .

Although the investigation found the fundraiser, who was employed by private company Home Fundraising, had not broken the Institute of Fundraising’s (IoF) code of fundraising practice, the FRSB has now called for the code to be reviewed.

The body, which is responsible for investigating complaints about fundraising, wants clearer rules in relation to no cold calling signs and a review of how late at night fundraisers can visit people’s homes.

We recommend that a clear policy on this is set out within the code of fundraising practice to ensure greater consistency across the sector – Colin Lloyd, chair of the Fundraising Standards Board

The recommendation comes after the fundraiser visited a person with a no cold calling sign after dark and didn’t leave when it was made clear to them that the visit was unwelcome.

Currently the IoF code of fundraising practice doesn’t have any mention of signs and suggests that fundraisers can visit a person’s home until 9pm at night.

The dispute was further escalated after a second Home Fundraising fundraiser (operating on behalf of a different charity) also visited the home, even though the sign remained up.

As a result the FRSB has also suggested the code provide more information to fundraising bodies on what is “reasonable persuasion”.

Colin Lloyd, chair of the Fundraising Standards Board, said: “Charities, trade bodies and practitioners have long debated whether it is acceptable for fundraisers to knock at households displaying no cold calling signage. We recommend that a clear policy on this is set out within the code of fundraising practice to ensure greater consistency across the sector.”

The IoF has now announced that it is setting up a working group to review the rules and guidance around door to door fundraising contained in the Code of Fundraising Practice.

The working group will involve charities, fundraising suppliers and agencies, as well as the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association and the Fundraising Standards Board. It will report later this year.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of IoF, said: "Door to door fundraising provides a vital source of income for many charities around the UK. This review will make sure the Code of Fundraising Practice continues to set standards of practice which will maintain and grow the high levels of public trust and confidence charities currently enjoy." 

Earlier this year, the FRSB revealed that the number of complaints about doorstep fundraising had increased by 93% in just a year.  

Last week the FRSB also called for a review of how fundraisers target elderly donors after the family of an elderly woman with schizophrenia complained that animal charity, the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, had pressured her into donations.

13th May 2014 by Joan

Common courtesy surely - if a person has a no cold callers sign on their door - don'f knock or ring the bell - it's that simple. However, in this day and age of companies doing the fundraising for charities - what do you expect when professional can rattlers become involved? This professional stuff is ok at a corporate level but whatever happened to good old fashioned volunteer fundraising within communities?I have a no cold callers sign on my door - you'd be amazed at the number of people who 'cannae read' !

14th May 2014 by EDDIE MAHONEY

we were advised at Stirling a g m last year that no one was allowed to call at your door from any charities after 6 pm so where does this 9 pm come from.

16th May 2014 by John Brady

Eddie, I'd question the 6pm being the correct rather than 9, and don't know who gave that advice. 6pm would be ridiculously early to not have a knock at door from charities, or indeed politicians or activists campaigning or engaging with the public.