Institute of Fundraising drew up plans to merge membership with FRSB

But confidential document was never more than a draft and is now outdated, says Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF

Peter Lewis
Peter Lewis

The Institute of Fundraising drew up confidential plans to combine the membership of the Fundraising Standards Board with its own membership, according to an internal document seen by Third Sector.

The paper, which has the title Merged Membership Offering with FRSB, analyses the fee structure of the FRSB, using figures obtained "confidentially and unofficially". The document estimates that fees from the merged charity and supplier membership would be £1.03m, an increase of £30,170 on the sum of the fees charged by the two bodies separately.

The FRSB, which has nearly 1,600 charities and fundraising organisations as members, supervises complaints against charities. The IoF, which has 360 charity and supplier members and nearly 5,500 individual members, is a professional body for fundraisers that draws up the code of practice used by the FRSB.

The document mentions a "transfer of functions" from the FRSB to the IoF, but is not specific. It also says: "Wider benefits of the merged offer need to be explored, including other income that it might leverage."

The paper suggests that the FRSB’s staff could be cut from six full-time-equivalent staff to a part-time chief executive, a policy and marketing manager and a compliance officer, both full-time, which would bring a saving of £167,875.

The document dates from November 2012, soon after Lord Hodgson’s July 2012 review of the Charities Act 2006, which called on the IoF, the FRSB and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association to agree a division of responsibilities for self-regulation of fundraising that provided clarity and removed duplication.

The three bodies issued a statement that the FRSB would be the single public-facing regulatory body for complaints about fundraising, the IoF would set standards and write the codes of fundraising, and the PFRA would continue its specialist regulatory role for face-to-face.

Their chief executives also presented a united front to the Public Administration Select Committee in October 2012 to defend self-regulation and its ability to maintain public trust and confidence in charities.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of the IoF, said the document was never more than a draft and was not taken forward for discussion at senior level: "Following the Hodgson review and at the time of the PASC, lots of people and organisations, including the IoF, were thinking about how the system could improve.

"In this context, we were indeed exploring whether any benefits and/or cost savings could be gained from different structures in the future. Dating from over a year ago, the paper is out of date and does not reflect the current situation or our work over the last year.

"We have always been clear that there needs to be separation between the code writing and the adjudication. The draft paper was just about membership. No specific structure was envisaged."

Lewis said the institute was focused on its joint work with the FRSB and the PFRA on the PwC review of fundraising self-regulation, which is due to publish its findings in the coming months.

When the three bodies announced they were commissioning this review of self-regulation and how it could be improved, Lewis told Third Sector "there is no question of bringing the FRSB into the IoF".

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the FRSB, said he was not aware of the merger document: "We are two completely different organisations. Although we work together, our membership proposition is very different. We regulate fundraising organisations, while the IoF is about individual members, providing training, education and guidance."

Jenna Pudelek

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