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Fundraising Regulator decides on preference rules

By Mark Higgitt | December 2, 2016

The Fundraising Regulator has decided that the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) will enable individuals to name the charities from which they no longer want to receive any communications.

The Regulator says that it will give members of the public greater control over the contact they receive from charities. It believes the system will be in place by spring or early summer next year.

At the same time, charities will be required to increase their compliance by seeking affirmative consent for contact on a regular basis from donors and supporters.

You can read about the decision in greater depth via the links below. However, these are the headlines:

  • The opt-out from specified charities will apply to all charities and all forms of communication with a named individual (email, text, telephone and addressed mail)
  • The FPS will be IT-based but with a telephone service to support those who are vulnerable or without IT
  • The Regulator will notify specified charities of suppression (those people opting out) and monitor compliance, through a largely automated system
  • There will be signposting to the Telephone and Mail Preference Services
  • Accompanying guidance will explain how the public can best manage their contacts with charities

Opt-out will have the statutory force of a Data Protection Act Section 11 notice to cease direct marketing.

According to Civil Society News, both Stephen Dunmore, interim chief executive, and Gerald Oppenheim, interim head of policy and communications at the Fundraising Regulator, say the decision was made to simplify the FPS for the public.

“The system we have put forward is a much clearer system,” said Mr Dunmore. “Because it does exclude and suppress all communications from the charities that you specify. Whereas the working group’s recommendations only suppressed communications which were largely about fundraising.”

Gerald Oppenheim, who played a part on the expert panel that delivered insights to delegates the Preferences & Compliance Masterclass that opened September’s donorflex User Conference, said that the Fundraising Regulator had found it “difficult” to come up with a practical definition of what a purely fundraising communication was.

“Everybody knows that’s a difficult thing to do," he said. "It’s obvious if it’s something that says ‘please donate’, but if it’s just a newsletter with a small opportunity to donate in a wider document, then it gets quite complicated to decide whether that’s a fundraising communication or not”.

Individuals will be prompted to signpost which charities they no longer wish to hear from when they sign up to the FPS.

The FPS working party had proposed ‘small’ and ‘big’ red-button opt-out services. Yesterday’s announcement appears to replace that idea.

Read more