Charities must step up to defend face-to-face, says PFRA chief executive

Mick Aldridge says it is not the job of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association to champion face-to-face fundraising, but it has done so 'by default'

Mick Aldridge
Mick Aldridge

Mick Aldridge, the chief executive of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, has called on charities to be more prepared to defend face-to-face fundraising in the media.

Writing in the PFRA Annual Report 2011, published today, Aldridge asked why only one charity was willing to put a spokesperson forward to be interviewed on a BBC Newsnight programme, shown last year, that was critical of street fundraising.

Aldridge said the PFRA was not a trade body, but a self-regulatory organisation. This meant its job was not to act as a champion, advocate and defender of face-to-face fundraising, he said.

"We have defended face-to-face by default because no one else appears to want to pick up the baton," he wrote.

"There will be other Newsnights in the future. I hope that when such an unfair and biased media attack happens again, more charities are prepared to step up and defend the method of fundraising so many of them rely on."

The report says that plans set out in the 2010 report to put in place a quality control regime for door-to-door fundraising have not moved forward as quickly as was hoped.

"However, doorstep quality control was extensively discussed by user and provider panels, the standards and practices committee and the full board during 2010/11, and a programme of quality control will commence in the first quarter of the financial year 2011/12," it says. "Full details will be announced in due course."

The report says the PFRA received 54 complaints through its complaints-handling process in 2010/11, up from 35 in 2009/10.

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