Following the negative press that rocked the charity sector in 2015, charities have been given proposals by a working group convened by charity umbrella body, the National Council For Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). The aims are to tighten up fundraising rules between the public and charities and put donors in control of fundraising.
The recommendations that have been put forward propose:
- Charities who obtain contact details from third parties can only contact people if they have been given consent to be contacted by that organisation;
- Donors or potential donors who are contacted by a charity must be asked by the charity if they are happy to be contacted in the future;
- Letters are only to be sent to people whom they have positive reason to believe they would have an interest in hearing from the charity – and would always have an option to opt out of future correspondence.
The chief executive for the British Red Cross stated that the new proposals were an updated approach to consent and could prove to be the foundation between charities and their donors for a more trusting relationship. The recommendations are to be submitted to the FR (Fundraising Regulator) in order to be considered for inclusion in its fundraising code.
The sector’s key players such as Oxfam, Shelter and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home are well aware of the need to be seen as taking decisive action to improve people’s trust in charities and these recommendations are to be welcomed.
The proposals will allow donors to decide if they are contacted and how they are contacted by the charities they give to. This could potentially mean that the FR will be under pressure to make an example of charities who don’t follow the new proposals.
Simon Bladen, charity specialist at Hawsons, had this to say about the proposals: “I think broadly these proposals are a step in the right direction albeit I do personally believe there was some press sensationalism to get to this point. However any proposals to help improve trust in the sector should always be welcomed.”