Fundraising Regulator reveals process for signing up to preference service

Charities that are not eligible to pay the controversial levy to the regulator will not be invited to join the preference service until someone wants to block them

Direct mail: Fundraising Preference Service 'on track' for next month
Direct mail: Fundraising Preference Service 'on track' for next month

Charities that are ineligible to pay the Fundraising Regulator’s levy will not be invited to join the Fundraising Preference Service system until a member of the public wants to block them, the regulator has revealed.

The regulator said in a monthly statement sent out today that it was on track to launch the service next month, but has yet to provide a precise date.

The service was a central part of the Fundraising Regulator’s remit when the watchdog was set up last year after the fundraising scandals of 2015 and will allow members of the public to stop all direct marketing from specific charities.

In its newsletter today, the regulator said charities that spend more than £100,000 a year on fundraising – which makes them eligible to pay the levy to fund the regulator – should already have been contacted about the process of "getting set up on the system" before it is launched.

But all other charities would be contacted only once a member of the public had used the system to stop communication from them, the newsletter said.

A spokesman for the regulator told Third Sector the system was being implemented in this way because "those included within the levy are more likely to receive a suppression request because they’re the largest charities".

Fundraising companies and third-party agencies would be able to register with the regulator in the next few weeks, the newsletter said, adding that the regulator was testing out the registration forms for those organisations.

The register of charities signed up to the regulator would also be made public on its website in a couple of weeks, the regulator said, and would list all "existing and future levy payers". It did not say whether it would identify those who had not yet paid.

Last month Lord Grade, the chair of the regulator, revealed at Third Sector’s Fundraising Conference 2017 that almost a third of the 1,900 charities eligible to pay the levy had refused or not responded to requests for payments.

The regulator’s latest newsletter said it was preparing to issue invoices for the second round of levy payments.

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