Lord Grade criticises charities for clothing bag ‘bombardment’

27 Jun 2018 News

Lord Michael Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, has criticised charities which use clothing bag collection agencies, saying the practice is the most complained about form of fundraising. 

In an interview with The Times which has been published this morning, Grade said charity bag collection companies are making members of the public feel “bombarded” and “invaded”, and claimed the practice was the most complained about in fundraising, ahead of direct mailing and face-to-face fundraising. 

“I suspect it is the proliferation, it is the sheer volume. People start to feel invaded, don’t they? They really do feel bombarded and invaded.

“If they are doing something that is alienating people it is unhealthy for the charity sector. They need to understand what reaction they are getting. I think they are not terribly sensitive or maybe not resourced, maybe not skilled enough to be that concerned about what the public reaction is to their fundraising initiatives.”

Grade said that the majority of the complaints it received from the public about charity bag collection stemmed from the agencies delivering the bags on behalf of charities “routinely ignore notices such as those saying ‘no charity bags’”. 

He also said that the Fundraising Regulator was “redrafting its code of practice for fundraisers to make clear its rules on charity bags”. 

The Times reported that in the year to March the Fundraising Regulator has received 1,080 complaints. 

Grade’s ‘flowery language unhelpful’ says Lewis

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, criticised Grade’s “flowery language” but reiterated that charity bag agencies should not ignore ‘no charity bag’ signs. 

In a statement, Lewis added: “Clothing collections are an important way for many charities to raise money, and offers a quick and convenient way to donate unwanted items and reduce waste. 

“Charities will always be mindful of their fundraising and the impact it has on the public. If an individual has put up a clear ‘no charity bags’ sign that request should be respected. 

“We know that our members are absolutely committed to excellent fundraising that inspires people to give and follow the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice. If members of the public think the rules have been broken, then we encourage them to contact the regulator.”

Editor's note 28/06: This article has been amended to show that the regulator has received 1,080 complaints in total in the year to March 2018. The article originally stated this was in relation to charity bag collections specifically. 
 

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