The Children’s Trust has apologised after representatives from the charity went door-to-door fundraising in a ‘no cold calling’ zone.
Dalton Leong, chief executive of the charity, which supports children with multiple disabilities, wrote to a resident in Horsham, West Sussex, after the person complained to the charity about fundraisers knocking on doors bearing ‘no cold calling’ stickers.
The letter said that after seeing "the upset caused to residents of ‘no cold calling zones’, we have decided to review our campaign strategy".
The charity has promised that it will no longer knock on doors displaying ‘no cold calling’ stickers.
The letter from Leong said: "I would like to apologise for any concern or distress caused by our fundraiser.
"We have found that many people who display ‘no cold calling’ stickers have welcomed our fundraisers into their homes and thoroughly enjoy speaking with them about our work.
"We do understand, however, that for some people all unsolicited calls are inconvenient, so we do ask our fundraisers to act sensitively to residents in ‘no cold calling’ zones – leaving immediately and politely, if asked."
The Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice says that if a ‘no cold calling’ zone has been created within the Trading Standards Institute’s guidelines, fundraisers ought not to cold call anyone.
The institute’s guidance says that charities should consider the reputational risks of carrying out cold calling within the zone by disregarding local wishes. The IoF, which sets the standards and writes the rules for all areas of fundraising, warns there could be adverse press coverage, animosity from residents and complaints to the local trading standards department and the Fundraising Standards Board.
In a statement to Third Sector, Leong said: "After receiving one complaint in regards to a fundraiser calling at a door with a ‘no cold calling’ sticker, we immediately discussed the issue with Champions Life Academy, the donor recruitment agency we were working with on this project. They consulted the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, which issued detailed clarification of the PFRA rules on this area, and we agreed, with immediate effect, that no fundraiser would call where any such sticker is displayed.
"We have recently completed our 2013 door-to-door recruitment activity. We will be reviewing its success in the coming weeks ahead of finalising any plans for our 2014 activity."