The Government has signalled a major climbdown over the Fundraising Preference Service’s “all or nothing” approach after suggesting it could offer “nuanced options” that would allow people to remain opted in to receiving communications from charities they genuinely support.
The rethink was revealed in the Government’s response to a report by the Public Administration & Constitutional Affairs Committee on fundraising – published in January – which questioned the need for the FPA, insisting it would simply duplicate the work of the Telephone Preference Service.
However, the Government response said that the scheme should go ahead. It added: “The FPS will cut across all direct channels, including telephone, text message and mail, and will therefore not simply duplicate existing services.
“It will also address the issue that other services, such as the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service, were often ignored in the past and are not an effective way of removing consent across a number of fundraising channels.”
But the suggestion that consumers could be able to pick which charities they want to receive marketing from will be seen as a major victory for FPS critics, who fear the all or nothing approach could spell ruin for the whole charity sector.
In its response to the FPS consultation, the Institute of Fundraising was in no doubt of the potential damage. It said: “Many donors will want to continue hearing from, and donating to, charities that they support but may be unable to recall the names of those charities at the time of registration on an FPS.
It warned that the service could end up being a “blunt tool that will fail to provide genuine choice to people”.
Meanwhile, last week FPS chief George Kidd stunned the charity sector by admitting that the scheme might be scrapped within two years, as it could be superseded by the EU General Data Protection Regulation.
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