Fears grow over charity preference service budget

text 2Charity marketers have claimed that the launch of the Fundraising Preference Service could descend into chaos following reports that the new Fundraising Regulator plans to spend just £200,000 setting up the scheme.
According to documents seen by Third Sector, the £200,000 will cover the FPS’ initial set-up costs, as well as research, promotion and running costs, fuelling fears it will be massively underfunded.
The regulator is planning to launch the FPS in late 2016, with permanent staffing in place from October onwards, although it admits additional sums will be needed for system developments in successive years.
The documents show that the regulator intends to have spent a total of £437,000 by the end of July, but £65,000 will go on “board and AGM costs”. It plans to spend a further £1m in the eight months to March 2017. This will be funded by a levy on the largest 2,000 charities, although it has yet to even hold a consultation.
But one source told Third Sector: “The Institute of Fundraising has been saying it wants the service to be multi-optional and tailored to people’s preferences, but you’re not going to get that for £200,000. You’ll get a big red button that just switches everything off.”
Another charity marketer, who declined to be named, told DecisionMarketing: “You have to wonder what sort of service we will end up with – website set-up costs alone could gobble up most of the budget. The Telephone Preference Service and Mailing Preference Service cost hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of pounds a year to run, and they are not exactly sophisticated.
“With one study claiming up to 30 million people could join the scheme, they are going to need something pretty robust, otherwise it will turn into a complete fiasco.”

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