The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association could become more than just a regulator if its members wanted that, according to its new chair.
Paul Stallard said that its role at present was to be a regulator and give out factual information about face-to-face fundraising. But members might decide they want it to become more like a trade association.
"If the membership decides that we should take a road different from that of a regulator, then the members decide," he said in an interview with Third Sector. "But at the moment the membership has decided that our role in this world is that of a regulator.
Stallard, who works in financial services, discussed whether the PFRA was already perceived as an advocate of face-to-face. He said there was a difference between responding to criticism of face-to-face by giving facts about its success, which the PFRA aimed to do, and acting as a champion.
Asked about public perception problems with face-to-face fundraising, Stallard said he had had bad experiences of being approached by street fundraisers, but for every bad experience he had had up to seven good ones.
"Negative stories get picked up for whatever reasons, but in my experience it isn’t the true state of affairs on the high street," he said. "As a generalisation, people I’ve spoken to have not had that bad an image problem with people who stop them in the street."
Stallard said he objected to the "epithet of ‘chuggers’" and would not be using that word to describe face-to-face fundraisers.
He said one of his main priorities was to appoint a new chief executive for the PFRA, and that he was thinking about the competencies and experience he would like that person to have.
Another priority would be responding to the review of the Charities Act, he said, adding that he would like to see a more holistic approach to regulation of all types of face-to-face fundraising. He said he thought the regulatory process for face-to-face fundraising would evolve over time, just as it had done for financial services.