Fundraising: the biggest stories of 2015

The tragic death of poppy seller Olive Cooke ultimately led to major fundraising reforms

Olive Cooke
Olive Cooke

The former poppy seller Olive Cooke became the most referenced figure in fundraising this year following her suicide in May. Her death was initially blamed on the significant numbers of fundraising requests she received from charities, but several family members denied this and the inquest into her death confirmed that she was depressed and made no mention of fundraising requests.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister David Cameron announced in July that amendments would be made to the charities bill currently going through parliament to protect people from "aggressive fundraisers and rogue charities". The Minister for Civil Society, Rob Wilson, also asked Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, to lead a review of the self-regulation of fundraising.

The review, which reported in September, called for the Fundraising Standards Board to be abolished and a new regulator to be set up that would take code setting away from the Institute of Fundraising. It also recommended that the IoF and the Public Fundraising Association should merge and that a Fundraising Preference Service should be launched to allow the public to opt out of receiving charity communications.

In November, the broadcasting executive Lord Michael Grade was appointed to chair the Fundraising Regulator and he appointed Stephen Dunmore, former chief executive of the Big Lottery Fund, as interim head of the body in December.

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