Sir Stuart Etherington may rue the day he ever dreamt up the idea of the Fundraising Preference Service if new figures are anything to go by, with a new survey suggesting that up to 30 million people could sign up to the scheme.
The FPS, chaired by Direct Marketing Commission boss George Kidd, has no official launch date, with a working group currently looking into how it will operate.
The study, by nfpSynergy, found that 64% of the 1,000 adults said they thought the service was definitely or probably a good idea, with only 8% saying they did not think it was a good idea; the remainder were unsure.
More worrying is that among the older age groups – those aged 55 to 64, who are traditionally the biggest charity supporters, three-quarters supported the service.
Under the scheme, first revealed in Etherington’s Regulating Fundraising for the Future report, consumers will be able to “hit the reset button” on communications they received from charities and block telephone, direct mail and email marketing.
nfpSynergy co-founder Joe Saxton conceded that the impact of the FPS on giving could be “devastating”.
He added: “If these figures are right then a large majority of the giving public could sign up to FPS and cut them off from fundraising communications. If 30 million people sign up to the FPS, the costs of the service will be very high and the impact on giving devastating.”
Aside from the huge logistics of managing such a file – and the question of funding it and policing it – the launch of the FPS would appear to be far more calamitous than any move to opt-in only marketing, which has been estimated could cost the sector over £5bn alone.
Saxton added: “It’s clear the public want FPS; the question is whether it is the most cost-effective, fair and simple way to put the public in control of the fundraising communications they receive.”
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