PFRA plans to take on a paid chair

Self-regulatory body for face-to-face fundraising wants its membership to vote on the proposal in September

Michael Naidu, acting chair of the PFRA
Michael Naidu, acting chair of the PFRA

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association will ask its members to vote for a change in its governing documents that would allow it to take on a paid chair.

Michael Naidu, acting chair of the PFRA, made the proposal in a speech to its annual general meeting last week. The session was closed to the media, but the speech was released yesterday.

Naidu argued that the organisation needed to be seen more as an independent self-regulator than as a trade association. A primary focus this year would be lobbying the government to implement part 3 of the Charities Act 2006, which makes the Charity Commission the lead regulator of public charitable collections.

"We are not going to get what we want regarding CA06 if those with the power to grant this to us do not trust us to be able to deliver it," he said.

"And they won't trust us if all they think we are going to do is fight on behalf of our members to get as much space as possible with as many chuggers as possible on as many days of the week as possible."

He said that one of the steps in gaining this trust would be to "pay an honorarium to an external, independent chair". To do this, he said, governing documents would need to be changed, and members would be asked to vote for these changes at a meeting on 1 September.

Naidu told Third Sector the successful applicant would not necessarily need experience with face-to-face fundraising, but would need expertise in governance and change management.

He said the PFRA had been using the agency Trustees Unlimited and already had a long-list of potential candidates. Once the chair had been appointed, he would remain on the board of trustees.

In his speech, Naidu said it would not be the PFRA's role to continue to defend face-to-face fundraising in the media, echoing sentiments put forward by its chief executive, Mick Aldridge, in the latest annual report.

"I know that the PFRA has traditionally been an advocate for face-to-face," said Naidu. "However, we now need to do this less and less. The case for 'selling' face-to-face is made. It works, and everyone in the charity sector knows it works."

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