Institute of Fundraising acts to allay concern over FSB contract

Helen Barrett

The Institute of Fundraising is to convene a steering group of senior fundraisers to iron out concerns raised by charities about the membership contract of the Fundraising Standards Board.

The FSB has distributed the eight-page contract to organisations as part of the application pack, but some groups are understood to have raised concerns about several clauses.

At the request of the FSB, Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of the institute, is to invite influential figures to join the steering group, including Giles Pegram, director of fundraising at the NSPCC. Other participants have yet to be decided and a date for the meeting has not yet been set.

"The institute wants to make sure the FSB gets help getting things right," said Boswell. "We will put together a small number of individuals from different organisations to help the board go through the feedback it has received on the contract.

"Having fundraisers present will help amplify and explain why a charity has raised this or that concern."

Pegram said that one area of concern was the rules in the contract relating to volunteer fundraisers. "We want to be sure we don't find ourselves in breach from day one," he said.

"For example, when is a volunteer fundraiser part of an organisation making the Fundraising Promise? And when is he or she a donor on the receiving end of the promise?"

Another concern is the requirement that member organisations should add to their annual reports from 2009 a summary of the number and nature of complaints received and how they were dealt with. Until that date, the contract only requires organisations to list a source of information about complaints. The FSB said its December board meeting will decide whether to amend these provisions.

"We are confident that we can resolve these one or two points even if we have to put more explanatory notes on contracts," said Jon Scourse, the FSB's director.

Meanwhile, the board has appointed a complaints manager, but has not yet released details. The manager will consider complaints from the public about breaches of the institute's codes of practice and the Fundraising Promise.

So far, 119 bodies have joined the FSB, and the total is to be updated on its website each week.

The FSB will move to its own London offices at the Albert Embankment in December. Staff are currently based at the institute's offices in Vauxhall.

- See Editorial, page 13.

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