FPS will not apply to all communications, regulator clarifies

07 Dec 2016 News

The Fundraising Regulator has confirmed that the Fundraising Preference Service will only apply to direct marketing communications via text, phone, email and addressed mail, rather than “all communications”.

The regulator initially said that the FPS would apply to all communications via all channels, and repeated that assertion in a clarification note on Friday. But it has now confirmed that it will only apply to marketing communications via four channels.

A spokesman for the Fundraising Regulator told Civil Society News that the Fundraising Preference Service would cover “all direct marketing communications via [text, phone, email and addressed mail], although the FPS would not stand in the way of charities getting in touch with their supporters using legitimate interests on other communications such as standing orders/direct debits, legacies and volunteering”.

This statement appears to update the commentary in the regulator’s own ‘Clarification on the FPS’ statement, published on Friday. In that statement, the regulator said “to make things as straightforward as possible FPS will cover all charities and all communications”. 

The statement also said that “committed donors are unlikely to want to opt out from the charities they support, particularly where charities have sought their consent for contact and make sure they renew it periodically”. 

The regulator’s spokesman ruled out the idea of any further consultation or a review of the FPS model put forward by the board’s decision. He said that “in creating the model, the regulator consulted thoroughly with the sector. While we are always open to feedback, we are not looking to make major changes to our decision”.  

The spokesman confirmed that the Fundraising Regulator will “keep the delivery of the FPS under review from day one,” and said it would “aim to have a formal review of the FPS after one year of its operation”. 

Reset button ‘would not have helped someone like Olive Cooke’

The Fundraising Regulator also told Civil Society News that the fundraising ‘reset’ button that was part of both the original FPS recommendation in the Etherington Review, and the subsequent working group model, would “not have helped someone like Olive Cooke”. 

The regulator said that the reset button had not been implemented in the final decision following consultation with the sector, who felt the measure would be “too blunt”. 

“A fundraising ‘stop all’ option would not have helped someone like Olive Cooke who was also a donor who wanted to stay in touch with some charities,” said the regulator. Instead, the regulator said it would “strongly encourage anybody who feels overwhelmed by contact from charities to use this service. We can then speak to that individual and work out a solution that better protects them from charity communications.

 “Of course, the FPS is just a part of the solutions. Charities are making great strides in ensuring that conduct is improved, including making sure their consents to contact are up to date. However, there is still some way to go to ensuring conduct meets the standards expected by the public”. 


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