The Fundraising Regulator has revealed its plans for the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS). It is set to be launched in spring/early summer 2017.
- The opt-out from specified charities will apply to all charities and all forms of communication with a named individual (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.
- Opt-out will have the statutory force of a Data Protection Act Section 11 notice to cease direct marketing.
Following its implementation, the FPS will be closely reviewed by the Regulator to ensure it offers value for money. To this end, its usage will be monitored and donor feedback sought.
The Regulator is in discussion with potential suppliers about the procurement of the database and telephone service through a tendering process.
Commenting on the FPS, Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “In covering all charities and all forms of communication with a named individual, it will meet the aspirations set out in the Cross-Party Review of fundraising practice.
“We will want to focus in particular on the needs of vulnerable donors and the support they require to opt out from unwanted contacts.”
Sir Stuart Etherington, chair of the Cross-Party Review, said the proposed FPS would protect the future of fundraising and that it was “the final part of the puzzle” of the new regulatory regime.
“The sector’s action in reforming fundraising regulation and communications will mean that no one can accuse us of not having done everything in our power to reassure the public that we take their concerns seriously and are willing and able to respond,” he added.
John Mitchison, head of preference services, compliance and legal at the DMA, said the proposals “seemed” to offer an accessible solution for charities. He also sounded a note of caution. “We would urge the Regulator to ensure the service is robust, easily accessible and in particular protects vulnerable consumers.”