New charity hotline gets one complaint every minute

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​Fundraising Preference Service went live yesterday 

7th July 2017 by Robert Armour 6 Comments

A hotline for the public to report cold calling by charities received a complaint every minute in its first day of operation.

The Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) went live yesterday (6 July) and by the the end of play had taken over 1,300 calls for “suppression notices”.

 The service went live at 5am and enables members of the public to block phone, email, text and direct mail communications from named charities.

Stephen Dunmore, the regulator’s chief executive, said: “The launch of the FPS is a big moment for the Fundraising Regulator and a crucial step in ensuring that the trusting relationship between the sector and the public is rebuilt. 

“The high sign up numbers indicate a clear desire from members of the public to have greater control over which charities contact them and how they do it.

“The figures also indicate that many charities have some way to go in how they communicate with individuals. 

“That said, we are very encouraged by the progress that is being made by the charity sector in ensuring that fundraising is ethical and respects the wishes of the donor.”

However Sir Stephen Bubb, the former chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, defended charities’ fund-raising activities.

He said: “It is not wrong for charities to ask people for money indeed it is essential otherwise charities cannot do their job.

“Frankly these are not large numbers of complaints – the vast majority of charities do their fund-raising very responsibly.”

The service is available online or by phone. Family members are also able to use it on behalf of a friend or relative.

Comments

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7th July 2017 by John Brady

Oh Dear TFN, another story that refers to England and Wales without making that obvious to readers. I have stopped being surprised when that happens on the UK broadcast news or in London based media. But I am disappointed that TFN , the news outlet of the Scottish Charity Sector fails in this way.The FPS is a service for members of the public in England and Wales can use. And contrary to your reporting it is not a service to report cold calling it is there for the public to restrict any communication from charities and that may include charities they already have a “warm” relationship with.But I do wonder if you might have sought comment from SCVO’s policy team, probably several desks away from you. Senior SCVO figures led a process, along with at least 1 SCVO Trustee and involving key stakeholders such as the Scottish Government and OSCR, which listened to the voice of the Charity Sector in Scotland and concluded that FPS was not needed here. I do feel the value of such process to be undermined when what appears to be a press release from the Fundraising Regulator for England and Wales is listed without comment from either SCVO, The Scottish Fundraising Panel or OSCR clarifying the role, or rather non-role of the FPS in Scotland.

7th July 2017 by Ian Walker

"The FPS is a service for members of the public in England and Wales...", Scotland and Northern Ireland too. It appears OSCR registered charities that only operate within Scotland are excluded from it. But members of the public can certainly stop communications from all the high street charities. And you can request cold calling stops- I just have!

8th July 2017 by Charles

It is quite natural that people will react if they get opportunity. This is what happened here. They were waiting for the perfect time to register complaints.Charles EC - http://www.essayschief.com

11th July 2017 by Deanna Wolf

The over 1,300 hundred complaints were made by less than 700 people (I don't have time or energy to get the exact numbers as I'm not researching this). It should be noted that these 'complaints' were just requests for the charity named to not contact them. This is like unsubscribing to a magazine or mailing list. The fact that the Regulator is calling them a 'complaint' is misusing the general connotation of the word for effect. Additionally, the larger number references the individual charity unsubscribe or block requests - an individual can only make 3 at a time and so the number of individuals accessing the system is significantly less. And given that the fundraising charity sector, journalists, the charities themselves and countless others across the UK have checked the system and been counted in this less than 700 people figure, you have to think that that's really pretty low for a sector that is portrayed as maliciously seeking out and badgering the general public. It is NOT a high number when you consider the population, even the voting population, of the UK. Nor is it high in the time period - every new system that starts has a rush on it's first day. I'd say that you need to up your journalistic research a little bit before you publish what looks essentially like a transcript of what the Regulator's Chief Executive said in his various media interviews in the last week or so - information that has already been shown to be incorrect according to it's website and published regulations. Do what a good journalist should do, what you were probably taught in school/college/uni and get both sides of the story. Otherwise, you're advertising or providing sneaky editorials and that's akin to tabloid journalism and diminishes your reputation. (Opinions are my own.)

1st August 2017 by Jane

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