Regulator to charge charities prospecting fees

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association is to ask charities £6.75 for using street pitches to obtain contact details

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

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has begun charging charities for sites they use for prospecting - the street collection of contact details from potential donors.

The organisation has previously charged member charities only for sites they use for street and door-to-door fundraising, charging a fee of 75p for each new donor recruited. The new charge for prospecting will be £6.75 per place, per day.

Prospecting is already regulated by the PFRA. It said the new charges would allow it continue to regulate prospecting in the same way that it regulates fundraising, through activities such as mystery shopping, and would contribute to other PFRA costs.

The organisation will use its London pitch allocation system, under which organisations bid to be given the right to use certain spots, for prospecting as well as for street and door-to-door fundraising. Charities already have to pitch for prospecting sites in other parts of the UK, but have not until now been charged. They will be asked to pay the £6.75 fee.

Michael Naidu, acting chair of the PFRA, said prospectors were indistinguishable from street fundraisers to donors, local authority licensing officers and town centre managers.

"As this is undoubtedly a form of fundraising - because the street contact is followed up by a telephone call or other communication asking them to become regular donors - it is important that prospecting is fully integrated into the mainstream self-regulation of face-to-face fundraising," he said.

The PFRA has also changed the way that it allocates fundraising sites in London. The allocation will now be based on recruiter days - the number of fundraisers multiplied by the number of days they will be prospecting or fundraising - rather than on the number of donors they want to recruit. Outside London the process will remain the same.

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