Charities to be fined for flouting street fundraising rules

Public Fundraising Regulatory Association announces penalty points system for organisations whose fundraisers are guilty of aggressive behaviour or working outside an assigned area

Street fundraising
Street fundraising

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, which regulates street fundraising, has announced plans to fine charities and agencies that do not adhere to new rules.

The PFRA Rule Book (Street), published yesterday, includes the PFRA’s interpretation of the Institute of Fundraising’s code of practice on face-to-face fundraising and additional rules put in place by the PFRA.

Under the scheme, organisations will incur penalty points if their fundraisers are caught breaking the rules.

Examples include aggressive behaviour, working outside an assigned area or wearing name badges smaller than the size of a credit card.

Twenty, 50 or 100 points will be issued for each offence. Each point has a value of £1 and if an organisation accrues more than 1,000 points a year it will be billed the equivalent amount in pounds. This money will be given to the PFRA as unrestricted income.

A spokesman for the PFRA said points would be handed out by its standards team, which consists of two people who are on the streets regulating face-to-face fundraising every day.

He said the PFRA fully expected the "big operators" to pass the 1,000 mark.

"The 1,000 threshold was picked because it seemed like a fair target to aim for," he said. "In our experience they will reach the target."

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said the new guidance was a key step forward in building public trust.

"The need for high standards and consistency across the sector cannot be over-emphasised, particularly when it comes to the more controversial fundraising techniques such as face-to-face," he said.

A spokesman for the IoF said that anything that ensured fundraising standards continued to rise was a good thing.

A trial period for the points system begins this week and will run for six months, during which points will be issued but no fines will need to be paid. There will then be a review before the full regime, including fines, comes into operation from April 2012.

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