Charities – are you up to speed with the Fundraising Preference Service?

21 September, 2017

Few will forget the distressing story of Olive Cooke, the 92 year old poppy seller who took her own life in part, perhaps, due to the pressure of countless fundraising requests from charities.


One of the responses to this and other similar stories, is the creation of the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) by the Fundraising Regulator (FR). This went live on 6 July.


The FPS allows individuals to stop email, telephone, addressed post, and/or text messages from selected charities (a ‘stop’ request).


Only 3 charities can be identified in any online request although further charities can be selected by submitting new requests.


Individuals can still contact charities direct to stop communications and in fact the FR encourages this.


What do charities need to do to comply with the requirements of the FPS?


  1. Charities may wish to actively promote the FPS, on their website for example, to reassure donors that any unwelcome contact can be easily dealt with. The FR has created a number of resources to help with this.


  1. Charities spending more than £100 000 on fundraising will have been invited to enrol on the FPS. Smaller charities will only be set up on the FPS if/when they receive a ‘stop’ request from a member of the public. Any such request will be sent to the email address the charity has registered with the Charity Commission so it is important the charity checks that email address is up to date.


  1. Create a system for dealing with ‘stop’ requests. The charity must also maintain a list of all ‘stop’ requests and ensure the wishes are respected ongoing.


  1. Once a ‘stop’ request has been received, the charity is responsible for removing the person from the selected direct marketing communications within 28 days of the request. If the charity fails to comply and the individual receives another communication, the charity will be sent a reminder. If the individual continues to receive communications they can make a complaint to the FR who may take action. The individual can also ask the FR to send the charity a section 11 request to stop direct marketing communications under the Data Protection Act 1998 and if the charity fails to comply with that request, the court may order the charity to comply.


  1. The FPS does not apply to door-to – door fundraising, street fundraising or post where it is addressed to a ‘householder’. However, where a ‘stop’ notice is received, the charity may want to voluntarily limit any communications of this sort to avoid aggravating the individual in question and causing any reputational damage.


The FR website is helpful on the FPS. In particular this link covers a long list of FAQs.