On 3 February 2017, the Fundraising Regulator launched its first consultation on the Code of Fundraising Practice (the 'Code'). The consultation follows a period of key changes to fundraising regulation, not least the transfer of responsibility for maintaining and updating the Code from the Institute of Fundraising to the Fundraising Regulator.
The consultation will concentrate of those issues which the Fundraising Regulator considers to be 'the most pressing' including protecting vulnerable people, fundraising communications, delivery of charity collection bags and managing third party fundraising agencies. The consultation does not cover the Fundraising Preference Service (or FPS) which will be covered nearer the time or issues surrounding data and consent which the Fundraising Regulator proposes to consider once the ICO has issued guidance on the new EU General Data Protection Regulation.
Unsurprisingly following the emphasis placed by the Etherington Review of Fundraising, the Charity Commission and OSCR on the role of charity trustees in fundraising, the Fundraising Regulator proposes emphasising the duties of charity trustees by making explicit reference to the Charity Commission and OSCR's guidance for trustees.
The guidance also looks at the 'three asks' rule: that fundraisers can only ask for a donation up to three times during a call. The Fundraising Regulator proposes that this refers to financial contributions, rather than a donation, to distinguish from other forms of support. The Fundraising Regulator also wants to understand if the current provisions aimed at protecting vulnerable individuals need amending.
A new rule will be introduced (to mirror the street and door to door fundraising rulebooks – previously held by the PFRA) to ensure that fundraisers stop asking for support if an individual clearly indicates that they do not wish to continue to engage.
The Fundraising Regulator also proposes making it clearer that solicitation statements must be made before an individual commits to making a donation and that charities and agencies have a whistleblowing policy and procedure to allow staff to raise concerns easily.
A new rule would also prevent charity bags from being delivered to properties with a sticker stating no charity bags or no junk mail.
Finally, the Fundraising Regulator wants to improve the provisions in relation to third parties to ensure that there is effective monitoring to ensure that:
- there is full compliance with the Code;
- monitoring is meaningful for both organisations and not simply a 'tick box exercise'; and
- there is a consistent approach to monitoring compliance across all methods of communication.
The consultation runs until 28 April 2017 and all of the documents can be found here, as well as the link to access the Fundraising Regulator's online response system.