Fresh doubts over the long-term viability of the Fundraising Preference Service have been raised after official figures show that, in the year to the end of October, just 3,847 people used the service.
According to the Fundraising Regulator – which governs the scheme – there were 11,890 requests to stop communications from 988 charities, with almost a quarter (23%) being made on behalf of someone else.
But these figures represent a steep decline since the FPS’ first anniversary in July 2018, when it was revealed that 5,702 users had made 19,583 requests to block communications.
The figures are a far cry from the dire predictions that the FPS could have a “devastating” effect on the sector; a study by nfpSynergy in the run up to the launch suggested that 30 million people could register for the scheme.
Even before launch, many in the data industry had pointed out that the FPS was simply replicating the work of the Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service. There are just over 20 million numbers on the TPS and 6.4 million addresses on the MPS.
However, the Fundraising Regulator has so far dismissed calls for a review of the service.
One industry source said: “Is the Fundraising Preference Service sustainable? No. Will they pull the plug on it? Unlikely. The regulator wouldn’t want the bad publicity. After all, would you want to be the one who makes that decision? I suspect it will be allowed to carry on until it withers on the vine.”
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