Scale and scope of Fundraising Preference Service revealed

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First concrete details about how new charity contact opt-out system will operate

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1st December 2016 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A charity watchdog has outlined how the new Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) will look.

Designed to provide the public with greater control over the contacts it receives from charities, the new system will be launched next spring.

It will mean people can block charity fundraisers from contacting them.

The FPS has been designed to apply to all UK charities which spend £100,000 or more year on fundraising and will be supported by an annual £3,000 to £4,000 subscription fee.

It has been implemented on the back of a series of scandals which have engulfed charity fundraising, primarily in England and Wales.

To protect the future of fundraising, it’s crucial we address people's concerns

Charity leaders in Scotland have decided the FPS is not needed here as the sector north of the border is putting in place an enhanced system of self-regulation.

However, UK-wide charities that operate in Scotland, are expected to sign up to the new FPS.

The England and Wales Fundraising Regulator has now fleshed out what form the FPS will take.

If someone opts out of contact, this will apply to all forms of communication – whether it’s by email, text, telephone or addressed mail.

The FPS will be IT-based but with a telephone service to support those who are vulnerable or without IT and the regulator will notify charities when people have opted out – and will monitor compliance through an automated system.

In terms of enforcement, FPS opt-out will have the statutory force of a Data Protection Act Section 11 notice to cease direct marketing.

Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “The FPS will help give individuals control of their contacts with charities. In covering all charities and all forms of communication with a named individual, it will meet the aspirations for the FPS set out in the cross-party Review of fundraising practice.

“We will want to focus in particular on the needs of vulnerable donors and the support they require to opt out from unwanted contacts.

“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. We are committed to helping the sector work to the standards expected by the public.

“Once implemented, the FPS will be closely reviewed, including usage, value for money and donor feedback.”

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 will also help charities clean their lists and better target their communications, ahead of the implementation of new data rules in the coming years.

“It is becoming ever more important that charities follow the highest standards in communicating with their donors, including by ensuring they have valid consent for how they are using personal details.

“The FPS will represent the final part of the puzzle of the new regulatory regime. The sector’s action in reforming fundraising regulation and communications will mean that no one can accuse us of not having done everything in our power to reassure the public that we take their concerns seriously and are willing and able to respond.”