One year on from the launch of the controversial Fundraising Preference Service, the number of people signed up to the scheme has actually dropped to 5,702, sparking fresh claims that it is a “huge waste of time and money” for all concerned.
The Fundraising Regulator – which runs the scheme – has confirmed that the number of blocked communications have inched up to 19,583, from 16,557 in May, although the number of people using the service has dropped to below May’s figure of 6,806 users.
Of the total figure, 5,318 requests have been made to suppress marketing by someone else.
The FPS was launched in July 2017 following claims that 92-year-old fundraiser Olive Cooke had committed suicide because she was inundated with charity requests; a claim which was later dismissed by the coroner at the inquest into her death, who ruled that the pensioner had been suffering from depression for years.
At the time, many in the data industry pointed out that the FPS was simply replicating the work of the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service. There are 22 million numbers on the TPS and 6.4 million addresses on the MPS.
Like the existing suppression files, the FPS allows members of the public to opt out of communication from as many charities as they like, although they are only be allowed to select three at a time.
Fundraising Regulator vice-chair Margaret Moore has dismissed calls for a rethink, insisting it is “too soon to have a review” of the FPS this year.
However, one industry source said: “How much is this all costing? Why don’t they just throw in the towel and simply merge it with the MPS and the TPS? GDPR is now in force, enabling consumers to stop marketing anyway. The FPS is just a huge waste of time, money and effort.”
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Fundraising Regulator is itself facing a review of its operations. Whether the FPS will be included in that remains to be seen.
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