Details on the Fundraising Preference Service

Plans for the promised Fundraising Preference Service, being set up by the Fundraising Regulator, have been announced. It is due to be launched in spring/early summer 2017 and will

enable individuals to select charities that they no longer want to receive any communications from. 

The ‘reset button’ which had been originally expected has become an opt-out from particular charities specified by the individual, covering all charities and all forms of communication (email, text, telephone and addressed mail).

  • The FPS will be IT-based but with a telephone service to support those who are vulnerable or without IT.
  • The Regulator will notify specified charities of suppression (those people opting out) and monitor compliance, through a largely automated system.
  • There will be signposting to the Telephone and Mail Preference Services.
  • Accompanying guidance will explain how the public can best manage their contacts with charities.

See Fundraising Regulator announcement. A later clarification says that

  • To make things as straightforward as possible FPS will cover all charities and all communications (see note).
  • 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.
  • But if in rare cases that happens, 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. If there are any problems, we will work with charities and donors to resolve them.

NOTE: Civil Society News reports (7th December) a clarification on the clarification, that ‘all communications’ in fact should be ‘all marketing communications’.

We did wonder how this would impact a member of a charity who just wants to stop receiving fundraising material, for instance.

Further reading

The Regulator’s main FPS page has links to the full Board decision and a box to register to be notified when the system becomes live.

Civil Society News coverage on what has changed since the original proposals, the next steps and other background. There is also a comment piece which includes:

“It’s basically a Charity Preference Service, catered almost entirely towards the public, which seems to effectively be just a combination of both the TPS and MPS.”

Scotland and N Ireland

The above currently only applies to England and Wales.

Scotland: see the recent VoluntaryNews item ‘Scotland says no to Fundraising Preference Service‘.

For Northern Ireland, see ‘Interim fundraising complaints system for N Ireland‘.