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PFRA consults on how to tackle 'rogue fundraisers'

PFRA consults on how to tackle 'rogue fundraisers'

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association’s () working party on tackling ‘rogue’ street or door-to-door fundraisers has published its first consultation document.

The document presents three possible courses of action: a ‘blacklist’, an approved register, and a standardised reference procedure.

The ‘blacklist’ option would involve the PFRA holding a list of people who had been identified as ‘rogue fundraisers’. Anyone named on the list would not be able to work as a street or door fundraiser for any PFRA provider (agency) or user (charity) member.

An approved register would take the opposite approach. It would consist of a list of all street and door fundraisers currently working for PFRA providers or user members who have passed some form of accreditation process. Only people whose names appeared on the register would be able to get a job as a street or door fundraiser with a PFRA provider or user member.

The third option of a standardised inter-agency referencing procedure would avoid the need for a central register of fundraisers. Instead, all fundraisers joining a provider or user member and all fundraisers moving between provider or user members would need to go through a standardised referencing procedure. No-one would be able to begin employment until their reference procedure had been completed.

The working party was originally set up to discuss ways of protecting agencies, and their charity clients, from employees who completed direct debit mandates for ‘phantom’ donors and who moved between agency and agency with no checks on their behaviour.

However, after its first meeting to set its terms of reference, the working party agreed to expand its remit to look at the issue of all rogue fundraisers who might bring their employer agency or charity they are fundraising for into disrepute.

The working party is chaired by Graham Bunce, who, as a general manager of professional fundraising organisation Support Direct, is part of the Cobra Group, which supplies door-to-door sales people for energy companies under the EnergySure scheme.

Other members of the working party are:

• Milly Ahmed, co-managing director, Gift Fundraising

• Sandeep Bermi, head of training, Fundraising Initiatives

• James Davis, managing director, Dialogue Direct

• Peter Flynn, senior campaign co-ordinator, Action for Blind People

• Richard Verden, head of individual giving, British Red Cross

• Anna Walsh, head of social fundraising, Bluefrog.

Graham Bunce says: “Implementation of any of these options has logistical, legal and cost implications so we are now asking for the views of the PFRA membership – and anyone else with an interest in this issue.”

The consultation document will be distributed to PFRA members today, and responses are requested by Monday 28 September.

The document will be available online on the PFRA’s website or from Ian MacQuillin, head of communications, on The working party will meet again on 8 October.

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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