Fundraising Regulator: guidance on charity bag use published, and what next for the FPS?

The Fundraising Regulator has published a couple of interesting reports recently. Charities that carry out fundraising using charity bags will need to know about the first, and all charities sending out fundraising communications may find the second interesting.

Charity bags: new guidance published

The Fundraising Regulator’s Annual Complaints Report has revealed the most complained about methods of fundraising for the year to be use of charity bags for collection, followed by online  fundraising and face-to-face fundraising.

There was a slight increase in the number of complaints received this year, and common issues included:

  • the provision of misleading information,
  • the application of undue pressure to donate, and
  • poor complaints handling.

As a result of the preponderance of complaints about charity bags, the Fundraising Regulator has published new guidance for charities on fundraising in this way, highlighting all the specific legal and regulatory requirements applicable to this form of fundraising, and linking to the ASA’s previous guidance on charity bags.

What next for the FPS?

The Fundraising Regulator has published an independent evaluation of the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS).

The evaluation suggests that the FPS is easy to use for the general public, reliable, and particularly useful as a way of protecting vulnerable relatives from unwanted charity communications.

It also notes that charity satisfaction with the service is low, particularly as a result of the cost compared to the relatively small number of users. The majority of charities surveyed recognised, however, a need for the service to continue in some form, to foster public trust and confidence in the sector.

The Fundraising Regulator has accepted the recommendations in the report, including:

  • exploring ways to reduce the cost of the service;
  • encouraging charities to promote the FPS to the vulnerable; and
  • issuing guidance to charities on what to do if they receive a suppression request for someone not on their database.

Some of the recommendations will require consultation – so charities with an interest in this should look out for further announcements – but others the regulator is confident should be straightforward for it to implement without any further input being required from the sector.

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