A former director of the defunct fundraising agency GoGen is expanding the call centre business he now works for into the charity sector.
Giuseppe Iantosca, who was a director and a major shareholder of GoGen, which collapsed in July 2015, joined Confero as client services director in March.
The call centre business, which has previously worked exclusively with commercial clients, has announced that it will offer services to charities that will include outbound telephone fundraising and a charity "bureau" that will receive in-bound calls.
The company said it planned to exceed best practice guidelines by imposing a rule of no more than two asks for donations per call. Three asks is the limit currently imposed by the Code of Fundraising Practice.
It said it would also restrict the number of attempts its fundraisers make to reach people by phone to a maximum of eight and ensure that people are asked if they are happy for calls to continue if they indicate that they are above a certain age or unemployed.
"Opt-outs are ‘triggered’ by a response that indicates the person we are speaking to might be vulnerable," Iantosca told Third Sector. "If the donor was happy to continue then the fundraiser would, in keeping with our vulnerable persons policy, continue to listen and assess throughout the call and, if they suspected vulnerability, end the call by thanking the donor."
He said that fundraisers would be instructed to make only five dial attempts for campaigns lasting less than a month, whereas the industry standard was generally set at 10 attempts, regardless of the length of the campaign.
He said that an unreasonable number of dial attempts caused donors and their loved ones to feel harassed and that time spent dialling phones rather than speaking to people pushed agencies’ prices up and reduced charities’ returns on investment.
Iantosca’s former company went into administration after being at the centre of a front-page report by the Daily Mail newspaper under the headline "Shamed: Charity cold call sharks".
After GoGen closed, he originally planned to set up a new fundraising agency that would have been called Still Fundraising. Instead, he decided to join Confero in March, citing the "rapidly changing and uncertain environment" for his change of heart.
Still Fundraising had also planned for its fundraisers to ask for donations a maximum of two times. Iantosca has previously said there would be anywhere between one and three asks per call at GoGen, but he believed this was sometimes excessive.