Fundraising Regulator to consider clarifying rules around household collections

It will consider putting out additional guidance on the delivery of fundraising materials to people displaying 'no junk mail' signage after a case involving the Salvation Army

Salvation Army clothing collection bag
Salvation Army clothing collection bag

The Fundraising Regulator will consider whether to amend rules around household charitable collections after the Fundraising Standards Board rejected a complaint against the Salvation Army.

In its final adjudication report published today, the FRSB found that the delivery of a collection bag on behalf of the Salvation Army Trading Company Limited did not breach the Code of Fundraising Practice despite the recipient displaying a sign asking for no unsolicited marketing materials to be delivered.

The complainant contacted SATCoL in December to object to receiving a collection bag, which had been delivered on its behalf by the Royal Mail, despite displaying a "cease and desist" notice on their front door.

But the FRSB found that the fundraising code does not specifically address whether organisations are able to deliver collections bags that display signs objecting to them and called for the position to be clarified.

The Fundraising Regulator, which took over responsibility for the regulation of fundraising last month, said it would consider amending the code to include further guidance for organisations carrying out such collections.

The FRSB’s adjudication says that it found that SATCoL had been respectful in its approach to the public and had made reasonable efforts to ensure Royal Mail was complying with the fundraising code. The company had asked Royal Mail not to deliver to addresses with signs objecting to junk mail, the FRSB said.

The FRSB’s report says SATCoL removed the complainant’s postcode from all future distribution lists to ensure that the person would not receive any further collection bags.

But the FRSB found that SATCoL should have included a stipulation in its agreement with Royal Mail that its distributors should not deliver to such households.

The FRSB said the complainant was the same person to have had a complaint about the delivery of collection bags against the NSPCC and Clothes Aid upheld by the FRSB earlier this month.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said the case showed how essential it was for charities and their partners to respect the wishes of households that do not want to receive marketing materials.

He said in the light of the FRSB’s findings, the Fundraising Regulator would consider whether the fundraising code should be amended.

"The complainant has raised additional concerns with the FRSB about other organisations," said Dunmore.

"We will be writing to those organisations in order to bring to their attention the wish of the complainant to receive no further collection bags and to ensure that those wishes are respected."

Tony Hosking, head of clothing collection at SATCoL, said he was pleased with the outcome.

"As an organisation that is part of the Salvation Army family, we are committed to acting with integrity; we fully respect the wishes of the public and strive never to undermine their generosity towards us," he said. 

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