Charities Fundraising Review: Charities to Face Ban for Malpractice

Charities Fundraising

According to a BBC poll, 52% of donors who regularly donate feel ‘pressured’ by charities to do so. Due to the ongoing discussion into aggressive fundraising practises, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has conducted a fundraising review, which proposes a ban from using fundraising tactics, such as telemarketing and mail outs, for charities that continuously hassle donors.

The fundraising review was ordered by the Cabinet Office due to the growing malpractice of fundraising techniques used by charities. The matter spawned from 92 year old poppy seller, Olive Cooke, who allegedly took her life due to the 267 letters and excessive cold calls she received from charities pressuring her to donate. With many charities being accused of harassing donors, the Charity Commission and NCVO decided to tackle the problem.

On 21 September 2015, Sir Stuart Etherington led the review with cross-party members from the House of Lords. At the review, Etherington stated: “Some of the techniques used, or the manner in which they have been used, present a clear risk of damaging charities in the public eye…Despite this, we are clear that charities, and those working within them, have the best intentions. Unfortunately, good intentions are not always enough to avoid bad outcomes.” In response to this clam charities argued that they are not responsible for the aggressive ploy for donors, but their agencies: This was left with Etherington who answered that “charities must really carefully scrutinise what their agencies are doing”.

As a result, the review proposed that the Fundraising Regulation Standards Board (FRSB) be removed and replaced with a new association who will work with bodies such as the Charity Commission, as they are “no longer fit for purpose”. The new body, to be referred to as ‘The Fundraising Regulator’, will be responsible for ensuring the ‘Code of Fundraising Practice’ is followed, investigating charities that breach the standards and implementing stronger sanctions, such as bans and fines. Annual complaint reports will be issued each year to ensure charities are following legislation.
The review also recommends:

  • Trustees take more responsibility: Trustees and seniors will be responsible for ensuring that their charity and the agencies they use are compliant with the code. Charities will have to indicate in their annual reports how they protect donors from unwanted pressures of their fundraising.
  • A new regulatory model: A new corrective procedure is to be implemented when charities are being investigated. This will require statutory bodies to build strong relations with each other when tasked with a case.
  • Universal Code of Practice: The Public Fundraising Regulation rulebook and FRSB will be merged into one code of practice that all must follow.
  • Ban on Data-selling: The review recommends for charities to be banned from selling their donors data to third parties. A fundraising service should be introduced which allows for people to opt in and out of fundraising campaigns. This should be maintained and regularly checked and updated by the charity before they send out campaigns, such as emails or cold calls.

The full version of ‘The Regulating Fundraising for the Future’ report can be found here. If you require any information on the review, please contact Suda at