In an open letter to The Sunday Times, chief executives of some of the UK’s most well-known charities wrote that the generosity of the public ‘places a big responsibility on all UK charities to behave well in everything we do — especially in how we ask for support’.
Seventeen charity chief executives signed a letter co-ordinated by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), published in the Sunday Times on 6th September 2015.
“We know that there have been times where fundraising practice has failed to live up to these high standards. We are determined to change that,” said the letter. “No one should ever feel pressured into giving. The vulnerable should always receive the strongest protection. And we need to act quickly and decisively when any fundraising practice is found wanting.”
New proposals announced include specific opt-ins for all third party data sales, and the font sizes will be consistent – there will be no small print. Charities that use telemarketing must now clearly display their phone number, while a new Code of Fundraising Practice will be written, and a new regulator established to replace the FRSB which will have the power to investigate and fine charities that breach the new code.
Richard Taylor, Chair of the Institute of Fundraising, said: “I don’t know any fundraisers who wouldn’t be shocked if they thought they’ve created anxiety and distress to members of the public.
The DMA welcomed the new stance, saying the proposals mirror the approach advocated in the DMA Code. “Recent negative press reports have put some charitable practices under the spotlight. As the charities acknowledge in their letter, some of these practices have failed to live up to the highest standards,” said the chief executive of DMA Group, Chris Combemale.
“Many of the new proposals are in line with our own DMA Code, and we believe that these changes will do a great deal to rebuild trust between the public and the charities, whose work is so important,” he says. “Open and transparent communication drives trust and in turn, sustainable business growth.”