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Feedback invited on Fundraising Preference Service proposals

Reset button by MyImages Micha on Shutterstock.com
Feedback invited on Fundraising Preference Service proposals

The working group that is setting out the details of the has published some of its key proposals and is inviting comment on them.

The working group is hoping that the feedback will ensure that its final recommendations are informed by the views of charities of all sizes and by fundraising organisations.

The working group was set up following the government’s acceptance in full of the recommendations on the future of fundraising self-regulation by the Etherington Review in October 2015. This included the recommendation to establish a Fundraising Preference Service with its notion of a ‘single reset button’, as part of a new fundraising self-regulatory scheme.

Proposals for the Fundraising Preference Service

The proposals in the working group’s paper cover:

  • The type of communications that should come within the scope of the FPS
  • The channels to which the FPS should apply
  • How the FPS should relate to existing preference services such as the TPS and MPS
  • The possibility of allowing individuals to amend their FPS registration
  • The application of the FPS to smaller charities
  • The use of the FPS as a tool to protect vulnerable people

How to respond

Charities and other interested parties are invited to submit their comments to George Kidd, chair of the working group, by 31 March 2016.

You can download the Fundraising Preference Service working group’s proposals from in PDF.

The working group, which is hosted by NCVO, whose CEO Stuart Etherington chaired the original review, will also hold a series of roundtables and evidence sessions throughout March in order to gather further feedback on the proposals.

George Kidd said:

“I believe we can create a service that works well for charities and other fundraising organisations, while meeting the public expectation that there is a way to easily deal with a situation where they feel they receive an unmanageable volume of fundraising requests. This will help us show that charities take public concerns and their obligations to good data stewardship seriously and are deserving of the public’s trust”.

Reactions to the proposals

Tobin Aldrich, CEO of Misfit Foundation and fundraising consultant, shared his thoughts on the proposals in a blog post, asking Could the FPS actually work?. He has already argued that the FPS is not the correct response to “to deal with the challenges that the sector faces in finding appropriate ways to communicate with actual and potential donor” and that it has the potential to harm seriously charities’ work by significantly reducing fundraised income.

But he welcomes the work of those on the working party, and sets out some of the key proposals and the limitations that have appeared since the original suggestion by Rob Wilson MP of “the simple option to completely reset everything should they [donors] feel overwhelmed”. For example the group proposes that doorstep face-to-face fundraising be excluded from the Service, and that door-drop (unaddressed) mailings be excluded.

The Institute of Fundraising welcomed the opportunity to respond to the proposals. Peter Lewis, its Chief Executive, said;

“We are glad that the Fundraising Preference Service Working Group is consulting widely at this very early stage to inform their work and recommendations. We will be responding in detail in due course to the consultation, as well as meeting the Working Group next Friday to discuss the proposals, and we encourage all of our members to respond to this consultation directly and to also let us know their views.

“The IoF is absolutely committed to ensuring that members of the public are not overwhelmed or feel under pressure to donate, and we have already made significant changes to the Code to ensure charities respond better to donor preferences.  Ensuring donor choice should be absolutely fundamental to the new regulatory system as a whole, and needs to be carefully thought through especially  as to how the FPS will work alongside the new EU on Data Protection which will require consent freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous and any new ICO guidance in relation to consent.

“In this context we continue to have concerns over a generalised ‘reset’ button, and believe much more detailed thinking and analysis is required.”

 

More reactions to the proposals

There were a number of comments made by fundraising professionals on why the proposals seemed to water down the single, complete opt out, and how this might confuse donors who thought they were opting out of all communications. Others suggested unintended consequences such as a rise in unaddressed door-drops.

 

 

 

Photo: reset button by MyImages Micha on Shutterstock.com

 

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Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp.

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