Fundraising Standards Board pursues complaints about eight non-members

CSDM, the fundraising agency that went into administration last week, features in seven of the cases

  • This story was corrected on 21 July - see final paragraph

Eight charities have been referred to the Fundraising Standards Board after being accused of poor practice in direct mail, Third Sector has learnt - and seven are clients of the same fundraising agency.

Mailings from the eight charities - none of them FRSB members - were referred to the self-regulatory body by the Institute of Fundraising after it failed to get satisfactory responses to its members' concerns that the charities had broken its code of practice on direct mail.

The FRSB polices the institute's codes of practice. Its only sanction is expulsion from membership, but last autumn both organisations decided to tackle non-members informally.

The agency in the seven cases was CSDM, which went into administration last week (Third Sector Online, 29 June). Chris Stoddard, ex-chair of the agency, has set up two new ones - CSDM Fundraising Directors and CSDM Strategic Fundraising - which have bought the assets of CSDM and are trading in the same premises with the same staff. Stoddard said he envisaged that all creditors would be paid.

He told Third Sector he was aware of only one of his clients being referred to the FRSB. He had held discussions with the self-regulatory body's chief executive Alistair McLean, he said, and his new agencies were going to join it.

The institute's code says the outer envelopes of direct mail should not show shocking images and people should not be sent enclosures or incentives that are irrelevant to the cause or seek to generate donations through embarrassment or financial guilt.

The charities referred to the FRSB include the Age Related Diseases and Health Trust, on whose behalf CSDM sent a mailing that contained a mug. Paul Springer, director of programmes and research at the charity, said he would monitor its fundraising appeals more closely in future and send only relevant enclosures. The charity was considering becoming an FRSB member, he said.

Disability charity Power International, which sent a mailout with a picture of an iris flower, was also among the eight. Sarah Hodge, its chief executive, said she did not intend to change the appeal because trustees felt it did not upset readers. The charity did not renew its FRSB membership when it ran out last December.

  • Power International was not referred to the FRSB by the Institute of Fundraising. After the institute received complaints about the charity's direct mail, it took the matter up with the charity but did not take the case further to the FRSB

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