Hot issue: Should all street fundraising charities be PFRA members?

The Institute of Fundraising's revised code of practice on face-to-face activity no longer says charities should join the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association.

YES

Anna Walsh, street fundraising manager, Sense

The PFRA is strongly proactive and has achieved a lot of positive things. It was born out of the need for structure in the face-to-face industry and has helped to combat problems with site booking and saturation, ensuring there is not an overwhelming number of fundraisers in one place.

The organisation's voluntary membership is a seal of approval for best practice and proud self-regulation grounded in member cooperation and respect. It provides a reliable service and has been working with councils, local authorities and the press to build a solid understanding of face-to-face fundraising.

Perhaps most significantly, it has also established a community and knowledge base for old hands, newcomers and the public, providing invaluable forums for the study of and debate about this method of fundraising.

I couldn't run or work with a face-to-face operation that didn't have PFRA membership, not least because of the confidence and sense of credibility that membership can inspire in the public.

NO

Murat Ismail, community fundraising manager, St John Ambulance

Not necessarily. Each charity should consider whether or not it's right for it to join. For smaller charities, the membership fee may be prohibitive because it is not based on levels of voluntary income, but on the number of donors recruited.

However, it can give charities developing face-to-face campaigns for the first time the opportunity to share ideas and best practice. For charities with well established face-to-face campaigns, the pros and cons of joining the PFRA should be considered on an individual basis.

In an environment where self-regulation is encouraged by the Institute of Fundraising, and with the introduction of the Fundraising Standards Board and new provisions in the Charities Act, the role of the PFRA may need to change. It could become increasingly important for professional fundraising organisations to join, because membership makes it easier to manage public fundraising sites, which ultimately benefits the public and all our potential donors. But we're not there yet.

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