Fundraising Preference Service suppression requests fall sharply in weeks after launch

Figures from the Fundraising Regulator show there have been more than 6,300 requests to block communications in the first month, but more than 4,000 of those came in the six days after its high-profile launch

The Fundraising Preference Service has received 6,305 requests to block communications by charities from 2,617 people in the 31 days it has been in operation. But the figures released yesterday afternoon by the Fundraising Regulator, which runs the service, indicate a sharp falling off in the number of people using the service between its launch on 6 July and 10am on 7 August. 

The FPS allows people to block contact by telephone, email, text message or direct mail from up to three individual charities at a time. The service was launched with a high-profile media campaign, which included an article in The Daily Telegraph and the regulator's chair Lord Grade speaking on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.

In the first six days of the service, there were 4,015 suppression requests from 2,007 people, according to figures released at the time, an average of 334.5 people using the service to make 669.1 requests each day. This worked out at 27.9 requests an hour.

Over the following 25 days, however, the rate of suppressions dropped to 91.6 a day, or 3.8 an hour, and only 24.4 people used the service for each full day. Over this period, a total of 610 people made 2,290 suppression requests.

Across the entire 31 days and ten hours, the service averaged 83.3 users a day making 200.8 suppression requests: 8.4 an hour.

The figures across the month suggest that the average user is blocking more than one charity at time.

By comparison, the Telephone Preference Service, which allows users to register to block unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls from all commercial and voluntary sector organisations, which has been in operation since 1999, has 23 million registered users.

If the FPS maintained the same number of daily users over the next 18 years, it would have a total of 547,281 users.

In a statement accompanying the figures, Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, described the public’s response as a "rapid uptake" that showed the FPS was "a service individuals both need and want".

He said: "The launch of the FPS was an important moment for the Fundraising Regulator and a significant step in rebuilding trust between the sector and the public.

"Although the numbers indicate there is still some way to go in terms of charities’ communications with individuals, we are encouraged by the progress that is being made by the charity sector in ensuring that fundraising is ethical and transparent.

"We look forward to continuing to work closely with charities and, as always, greatly appreciate their cooperation and positive response to the introduction of the FPS."

The Fundraising Regulator declined to comment on the drop in numbers.

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