Sector representatives have said that they have ongoing concerns about how the Fundraising Preference Service will work, following the publication of the working group’s recommendations last week.
The working group into the implementation of the FPS, chaired by George Kidd, published a paper setting out some of its key proposals on 2 March and invited the sector to comment.
The paper broke the FPS down into six different aspects and invited charities and other “stakeholders” to engage in an “ongoing conversation” with the working group throughout March.
Joe Saxton, director of nfpSynergy, said the document “still leaves much that is unclear” about how the FPS will function and which fundraising techniques it will affect.
“The FPS will only possibly work if the detail is set out very clearly. The proposals still leave much that is unclear. Is FPS about household or individual? Does it only apply to charities? Where does membership stand? Why aren’t fundraising events included in FPS, nor apparently lotteries?”
He also said that ultimately, universal opt-in will effectively “do the same job, much more easily than the FPS” and that the “Etherington Review has created a bureaucratic monster, that even the EU has found a simple solution to”.
Jay Kennedy, director of policy for the Directory of Social Change, said his organisation remains “unconvinced of the need for an FPS” and disagreed with the consultation document’s assertion that the FPS ‘has been accepted by the sector’.
“The consultation document says the FPS ‘has been accepted by the sector’ which is not true. Some organisations may have accepted it but that doesn’t mean they speak for ‘the sector’. In our experience it is a very unpopular proposal”.
Daniel Fluskey, head of policy at the Institute of Fundraising, said: “While we continue to have concerns about a single reset button within the proposals, we welcome the working group’s approach which enables charities to talk about the good work that they do and doesn’t result in individuals being completely cut off from causes that they have supported and care about.
“We are glad that that the group are consulting fully with the sector and we look forward to playing our full part in the discussions and encourage our members to respond”.
Ian MacQuillin, director of Rogare, praised the recommendation that donors should “be able to opt back in” to receiving communications once registered to the FPS.
However, he also said that elements of the document “ought to ring serious alarm bells”, including the definition of fundraising communications as “one that is carried on for ‘gain’” which he said would “encompass charity trading”. He also said the small-charity exemption was “practically unworkable”.
John Barrett, interim chief executive of the Small Charities Coalition, praised the working group’s recommendation to exempt charities with an income below £1m from adhering to the FPS and said it was “good to see the contribution of small charities recognised in the consultation process”.