Fundraising Regulator chair Lord Michael Grade has been branded “an embarrassment” with a “complete lack of empathy” following the launch of an online petition calling for him to resign in the wake of his comments in the run-up to last week’s launch of the Fundraising Preference Service.
The move follows confirmation of Grade’s reappointment to the post until the end of 2018. This is despite the regulator being forced to clarify how the FPS will run following a series of media interviews in which Grade appeared to overstate its powers.
He also drew criticism for saying that too many charities were “proving to be laggards” and previously described fundraising as “the Wild West” and fundraisers as “rogues and cowboys”.
The petition calls on Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, to “initiate a process to replace Lord Grade immediately and find a chairman who is willing and able to represent donors and not-for-profit organisations responsibly”.
Although the petition has so far received limited support, with fewer than 200 signatures, it is the nature of the comments made by those who have signed it which are likely to make difficult reading for the regulator.
One said: “Lord Grade holds fundraisers and charities in contempt. His negative language and generalisations are only matched by his lack of knowledge of the sector he purports to regulate. Fundraisers have no confidence in him at all.”
Another wrote: “Lord Grade’s comments make it impossible for him to serve as the chair of our supposedly independent and impartial regulator. He’s become an embarrassment that could potentially do great harm to philanthropy in the UK.”
Meanwhile a third commented: “I believe Lord Grade has demonstrated, in numerous interviews, his complete lack of understanding of his own role and that of the regulator. Furthermore, he has demonstrated a complete lack of empathy for fundraisers and the voluntary sector as a whole.”
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