Increase in complaints about digital fundraising may result in changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice

The Fundraising Regulator has confirmed that when it reviews the Code of Fundraising Practice in 2022 it will look at whether the standards for digital fundraising are sufficient or whether change is needed, after its recent Annual Complaints Report for 2020/21 revealed an increase of 252 per cent in complaints received by charities about online fundraising.

The regulator also received 84 complaints about digital fundraising from the general public directly – an increase on the 56 complaints received the previous year.

The increase in such complaints, however, was quite small when compared to the increase in the amount of digital fundraising carried out during the year as a result of restrictions put in place because of the pandemic preventing in person fundraising.

The regulator noted that only one impression in almost two million resulted in a complaint, so that digital fundraising appeared to be relatively low risk, despite in the increase in complaints. Nevertheless, it will still review the standards presently contained in the Code next year. 

Unsurprisingly, the increase in complaints about digital fundraising was mirrored by a decrease in complaints received by charities about in person fundraising and, overall, the total number of complaints received by fundraising charities continued to decline, as it has done for the past two years.

The most complained about fundraising method in the year – for the third year in a row – was not in fact digital fundraising, but charity bags. Addressed mail was also a frequent cause of complaints.

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