The Fundraising Preference Service has been used by 2,617 people in its first month to cease some or all communications from the 6,305 charities they were in touch with.
The service was launched one month ago today on the first anniversary of the Fundraising Regulator taking on self-regulation of charity fundraising in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Of these, the Service received 1,312 suppression requests from 614 people on its first day.
A ‘suppression’ is a request to cease communications from one charity. Members of the public can choose to block phone, email, text or postal communications from up to three named charities on each contact with the Fundraising Preference Service. The service is available online and by phone.
As well as using it for themselves, individuals can use the service on behalf of a friend or relative.
The launch of the Fundraising Preference Service received national coverage in the media, with some titles referring to it as a way to stop charities ‘pestering’ individuals:
- New opt-out service to stop charities cold calling launches – how to sign up (MoneysavingExpert.com)
- One complaint every minute in first 24 hours of hotline to report charities that pester donors for cash (Daily Telegraph)
- Over 100 people an hour sign up to no-call list on its first day to stop charities pestering them (Daily Mail)
Stephen Dunmore, CEO of the Fundraising Regulator, described the uptake of the new service as “rapid”.
He said: “The launch of the FPS was an important moment for the Fundraising Regulator and a significant step in re-building trust between the sector and the public. The service allows the public to have greater control of which charities contact them and by what means. Despite being only one month old, the rapid uptake by the general public has shown that is a service individuals both need and want.
He added that the numbers confirmed that charities’ communications could still be improved. He said: “Although the numbers indicate there is still some way to go in terms of charities’ communications with individuals, we are encouraged by the progress that is being made by the charity sector in ensuring that fundraising is ethical and transparent. We look forward to continuing to work closely with charities and, as always, greatly appreciate their cooperation and positive response to the introduction of FPS.”
Thoughts on the numbers
On the assumption that some donors will ask to stop receiving communications from the same charities, the total number of charities affected will be fewer than 6,305. No number for this is currently available from the Service.
Nor is there a list of the charities which have been the subject of the greatest number of suppression requests.
The total number of people who used the service will also include some fundraisers and fundraising agencies, who were using it to conduct ‘mystery shopping’ tests so that they could see how the service operated in practice. It is likely too that journalists and others with a professional interest in the new service might have used it in this way too.
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