The charity regulator has performed a major climbdown over the Fundraising Preference Service by giving those who sign up to the scheme the chance to specify the charities they do not wish to hear from.
Back in February, FPS chief George Kidd had insisted that the service would take an “all or nothing” approach. But now it has been revealed that there will be “large red button” for those who want to stop receiving all marketing and a “small red button” for those who wish to prevent certain charities from contacting them.
It is thought the U-turn was triggered in part by the Disasters Emergency Committee, its member charities as well as some schools and higher education institutions.
DEC wrote to the Minister for Civil Society Rob Wilson expressing concerns about the effect of the FPS on emergency appeals, and the Russell Group, the umbrella body for 24 leading universities, called for universities to be exempt .
The regulator’s response to the consultation – which is basically the final deal – says that the FPS will apply to addressed mail, landline and mobile phones, email and texts. It says that the file containing the names of FPS registrants will be available to validated fundraisers from registered charities or other approved entities, but will not be shared directly with intermediaries subcontracted by charities.
The regulator is also pressing for the DMA to run the scheme, alongside the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service, insisting it could be set up within six months if this is the case. It says it would take another four to six months to set up the FPS if the regulator was forced to launch a tender process to find a partner to run it.
The response also confirms that the FPS will apply only to organisations that spend £100,000 or more a year on fundraising and that it should flag up the TPS and MPS to individuals who have concerns specifically about nuisance calls or direct mail.
DMA head of preference services, compliance and legal John Mitchison said: “The fundraising industry is in need of change, with the events of recent years highlighting a number significant issues in the way the sector approaches its supporters.
“The creation of this new preference service for fundraising puts the supporter back in control with the least amount of impact on the charity. The future success of the sector requires supporters are always put at the heart of all charitable efforts, recognising that they are an integral part of the organisation and that what is right for them is ultimately best for your organisation and its beneficiaries.”
“Rather than seeing this as a negative, we encourage all charities to seize this opportunity to create positive change and have better, stronger relationships with their supporters. In doing this and putting their supporters first in everything they do, the third sector will continue to be able to carry out the great work that it does.”
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