FRSB recommends creation of 'doorstep preference service'

The Fundraising Standards Board has made the call after rejecting a complaint from someone who was approached on the doorstep despite displaying a 'no cold calling' sign

Cold calling
Cold calling

The Fundraising Standards Board has recommended the creation of a "doorstep preference service", similar to the existing Telephone Preference Service and the Mailing Preference Service.

Its call comes after it rejected a complaint from someone who received a visit from a doorstep fundraiser despite displaying a "no cold calling" sign on their property.

In an adjudication published today, the FRSB recommended the creation of a register that would allow people to opt out of receiving unsolicited visits to their homes.

The regulator had received a complaint from someone who was approached at home by a fundraiser for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

The complainant was particularly concerned because they were told by the charity that it intended to continue approaching households displaying "no cold calling" signs unless the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice was changed to say this should not happen.

The FRSB considered the complaint as a potential breach of the "respectful" principle of the IoF code, but ruled that a breach had not occurred.

Nevertheless, it noted that the code did not specifically address the issue of "no cold calling" signs and urged the IoF to make a review of this a priority.

Last May, the IoF agreed to set up a working group to deal with the issue after the FRSB rejected another complaint from someone who displayed a "no cold calling" sign but was approached by a doorstep fundraiser from Home Fundraising on behalf of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The IoF said the group would report back by the end of 2014, but it is yet to do so.

Dan Fluskey, head of policy and research at the IoF, told Third Sector that the working group was convened towards the end of last year and it was not yet known when any recommendations would be made because they would need to be approved by the standards committee first.

A spokeswoman for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said in a statement: "In the absence of any sector guidance on knocking at homes with ‘no cold calling’ stickers, we require our fundraisers to be respectful to everyone they talk to and to politely walk away from anyone who doesn't wish to have a fundraiser at their door, regardless of whether they have a "no cold calling" sticker or not. We are actively engaging with the review into this issue and look forward to its conclusions, which are due out later this year."

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