PFRA sets up advocacy programme to defend face-to-face

Four volunteers have so far signed up to answer media questions, says Public Fundraising Regulatory Association

Face-to-face fundraising
Face-to-face fundraising

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has launched a scheme that will involve fundraising experts volunteering to defend face-to-face fundraising in the media.

The initiative, called the F2F Advocacy Programme, will involve advocates answering media questions about face-to-face fundraising.

Michael Naidu, acting chair of the PFRA, said at its annual conference last week that the regulator could no longer continue to defend face-to-face fundraising in the media.

The first four volunteers to become part of the programme are Adrian Sargeant, professor of philanthropy at Indiana University, Rowena Lewis, executive lead on the Philanthropy Review, and the fundraising consultants Giles Pegram and Ken Burnett.

The programme will enable the PFRA to focus on how face-to-face is regulated and how best practice is maintained.

Ian MacQuillin, head of communications at the PFRA, said he could sometimes tell that journalists did not trust what he was telling them when discussing face-to-face.

"They're thinking 'well, you would say that; it's your job to defend your members' interests'," he said. "When that happens in future, I can tell them that they don't need to take the PFRA's word, they can talk to Giles, Ken, Adrian or Rowena."

He said the advocates would not be an "extension of the PFRA's PR function" and might sometimes be critical of face-to-face fundraising.

Sargeant said the media and public never seemed able to use information about face-to-face fundraising correctly. "Information in the absence of education could be disastrous," he said.

"That is why I am pleased to be part of this advocacy programme. If the media better understand the facts and figures about face-to-face, we might see fewer negative stories."

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