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FRSB reveals 66,814 charity fundraising complaints reported in 2015

FRSB reveals 66,814 charity fundraising complaints reported in 2015

The ’s annual FRSB Complaints Report, published today (5th July), reveals that its member charities recorded a total of 66,814 about charity fundraising last year, a 6% increase on 2014.

The FRSB, which hands over its responsibilities to the new Fundraising Regulator this week, on 7th July, reveals in the report that 500 of the nation’s biggest fundraising charities are responsible for the large majority (98%) of both fundraising activities and complaints. Conversely, nine in ten small charities recorded no complaints about their fundraising. Six in ten complaints were generated by 1% of reporting charities (all with a voluntary income of £10 million and over).

The most complained about methods of fundraising were addressed mail and telephone fundraising, accounting for 60% of all fundraising complaints. In addition, over a third (35%) of charity fundraising complaints were prompted by a general dislike of fundraising methods.

Top 10 Fundraising Methods Prompting Complaint in 2015

  1. Addressed mail (27,089)
  1. Telephone fundraising (13,322)
  1. Doorstep face-to- face (8,497)
  1. Clothing collections (5,342)
  1. Email fundraising (2,441)
  1. Outdoor events (1,634)
  1. Private site face-to- face (1,359)
  1. Lotteries (1,094)
  1. Street face-to- face (1,033)
  1. Raffles (855)

The report emphasises the need for charities to ensure that supporters’ views remain central to all future fundraising approaches.

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

“While we must continually stress the essential need for charities to fundraise energetically and innovatively, charities must find ways to ensure that their fundraising approaches minimise any concern to the public. Fundraising should always be a positive experience that reflects the charity’s own values and the importance of its supporters. The public’s dislike of some fundraising methods highlights the need for charities to listen ever more carefully to supporter feedback and adapt their fundraising strategies in line with those views.”

Commenting on the report, Stephen Dunmore, Acting Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator said:

“Complaint monitoring is an important analytical tool to help regulators and fundraising practitioners alike understand where public concerns lie. As we pick up the reins for regulating charity fundraising later this week, we recognise the critical importance of identifying and addressing concerns from the public. This will remain a key focus for self-regulation of fundraising. Without that overview, charities cannot re-build public confidence in their work and restore trust in the way that essential funds are raised.”

Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of the Institute of Fundraising, added:

“2015 was a difficult year for fundraising and in response we have seen the sector taking rapid action to address the public concerns which came to light. These actions have set the sector on the right path. At the IoF, as part of our anticipated merger with the PFRA, we are about to launch a new service to help our members comply with the Code, and are further developing our extensive training programme to help raise fundraising standards further. It is also important to note that figures for the last year show that existing donors are choosing to continue to support the causes they care about.”


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

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