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FRSB adjudication warns charities to document complaint communications

FRSB adjudication warns charities to document complaint communications

The (FRSB) has stressed the importance of charities clearly documenting all communication with complainants in its latest adjudication.

The adjudication addressed a complaint about unwanted charity fundraising approaches from the RSPB. It was not upheld by the FRSB adjudication panel due to insufficient evidence of a breach of industry standards. However, the regulator expressed dissatisfaction that the RSPB had failed to retain relevant records. It described the lack of evidence about the way the RSPB handled the complaint as ‘unacceptable’ and instructed the charity to keep relevant records in future.

The complainant was contacted by a telephone fundraiser acting on behalf of the RSPB and asked if he wished to increase his existing Direct Debit donation. He informed the RSPB that he wished to be removed from the charity’s ‘marketing list’, but later received a mailing from the charity.

The regulator was unable to determine whether the charity had breached the Code due to lack of evidence regarding whether the request to be removed from all marketing approaches had been clearly communicated.

The FRSB instructed the RSPB to retain all communications relating to future in line with the FRSB Complaints Process – A Member’s Guide, which stipulates that member charities must keep “all relevant emails, letters and details of any phone conversations” relating to complaints.

Andrew Hind, chair of the Fundraising Standards Board, said:

“It is entirely unacceptable for a charity not to retain adequate records on supporter communication or contact preferences, particularly in relation to any dialogue that may be pertinent to a complaint and that restricts our ability to investigate.”

The full adjudication report is available on the FRSB’s latest adjudications webpage.

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via www.thepurplepim.com.

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