Alan Gosschalk says fundraising code changes have cut Scope's call lists by 80 per cent

Prohibition on calling donors registered with the Telephone Preference Service without their express consent will cost the disability charity about £250,000 a year, says its director of fundraising

Alan Gosschalk
Alan Gosschalk

The Institute of Fundraising’s code change prohibiting fundraisers from calling donors who are registered with the Telephone Preference Service without their express consent has reduced Scope’s call lists by up to 80 per cent, the disability charity’s director of fundraising has said.

Alan Gosschalk, who led the IoF’s task group looking into the changes relating to telephone fundraising which the IoF made to its Code of Fundraising Practice in August and September, told Third Sector that the new TPS rule meant that the charity was now only able to call 20 to 25 per cent of the people it had called before the introduction of the rule.

Gosschalk said that the rule – which means that fundraisers cannot call TPS-registered donors unless they have been specifically notified that the person is happy to receive calls – will cost Scope about £250,000 a year in income because it would not be able to call supporters to upgrade them to a regular gift. "That’s about 2.5 per cent of our individual giving income," he said. "It’s a lot of work that we can’t do."

When the IoF announced the new rule in August, it said it was concerned that the change, which was requested by the Information Commissioner’s Office, could restrict the ability of charities to maintain relationships with their supporters.

Tobin Aldrich, the chief executive of the direct giving charity the Misfit Foundation, told Third Sector he knew of several other charities that had seen their call lists reduced by up to 70 per cent by the TPS changes.

He estimated that the proposals announced in Sir Stuart Etherington’s review into the self-regulation of fundraising, published last month, could cost the sector hundreds of millions of pounds a year.

Aldrich, who is also a fundraising consultant, said that the creation of the Fundraising Preference Service, which would allow individuals to opt-out of all charity telephone calls and direct mail, would cost the sector tens of millions of pounds.

He also said he agreed with researchby the Public Fundraising Association earlier this year which indicated that the rule announced in June forbidding fundraisers to ignore no-cold-calling signs could lose the sector up to £4.2m a year. "I think that’s about right," he said.

Adrian Sargeant, the fundraising academic and consultant, said he was also concerned about the FPS proposal, saying it would prevent charities from asking 10 per cent of the population for help by telephone or any other "direct response" channel when disasters struck for which they needed donations.

The director of fundraising at a well-known medium-sized charity, who did not wish to be named, said that her charity was expecting to raise 10 per cent less in 2016 than originally forecast because of the proposals outlined in the Etherington review and the IoF code changes.

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