Institute of Fundraising to review guidance after rejection of door-to-door complaint

The Fundraising Standards Board says that the IoF's code was not breached, but does not address the question of 'no cold callers' stickers

Door-to-door fundraising
Door-to-door fundraising

The Institute of Fundraising will review its rules and guidance on door-to-door fundraising after the Fundraising Standards Board rejected a complaint from someone who was approached by a doorstep fundraiser despite displaying a "no cold callers" sticker.

In an adjudication published today, the FRSB recommended that the IoF revisit its code in the light of a complaint from a person who was approached by a fundraiser working for the agency Home Fundraising on behalf of Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The complainant alleged that the fundraiser knocked on their door at 7pm when it was dark, ignored the "no cold callers" sticker displayed on the front door and did not leave when requested.

The complainant, who had asked for compensation from both Marie Curie and Home Fundraising, said that they had been visited by fundraisers from the agency on two further occasions since making a formal complaint to it.

The FRSB board considered the complaint as a potential breach of the "respectful" principle of the IoF code, and whether it breached section 16.0 (public collections) of the code, which says that "collectors ought to, when asked to do so, terminate their approach in a polite manner".

The FRSB ruled that the code had not been breached in either case, but said that it did not specifically address the issue of "no cold callers" stickers.

In response, the IoF said today that it would set up a working group to review its rules and guidance on door-to-door fundraising in its Code of Fundraising Practice.

The IoF said the working group would include representatives from the FRSB, the Professional Fundraising Regulatory Association, fundraising suppliers and agencies, and charities. It said the group would report back later this year.

Peter Lewis, chief executive of IoF, said: "Door-to-door fundraising provides a vital source of income for many charities around the UK. This review will make sure the Code of Fundraising Practice continues to set standards of practice that will maintain and grow the high levels of public trust and confidence charities currently enjoy."

A statement from Home Fundraising said the agency was satisfied with the outcome. "Any complaint from a member of the public is taken very seriously and investigated by Home Fundraising in line with our policy and standards," it said.

It said that the agency believed that the issues raised by the FRSB were wider in scope than an isolated complaint from one individual, and that Home would "welcome the opportunity to be involved in a wider debate with all the regulatory bodies and other relevant stakeholders on the issues raised by the FRSB".

The statement quoted Dominic Will, joint managing director of Home, saying it was important that, in the interest of protecting fundraising income and best practice, "for regulatory policy to be developed from the basis of empirical evidence and not echoing a vocal minority that simply do not like any forms of mass market fundraising".

Fabian French, director of fundraising at Marie Curie Cancer Care, said in a statement: "We welcome the FRSB’s adjudication, which does not uphold a complaint filed against Marie Curie and acknowledges the charity’s effective and sensitive handling of the original complaint."

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