The full report on self-regulation of fundraising by the professional services firm PwC explores six options for improving the system, ranging from no structural change to creating a single joint regulatory and trade body.
At present, self-regulation is a joint process between the Institute of Fundraising, which sets the Code of Fundraising Practice, the Fundraising Standards Board, which adjudicates complaints against the code, and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, which regulates face-to-face fundraising.
The sixth option – the "preferred option" – published in a summary of the report last week, is to set up an online portal to clarify the roles of the various organisations, appoint an independent chair of the IoF standards committee, which sets the codes, develop a joint communications strategy and review financing arrangements.
The other five options are in the unpublished part of the report, seen by Third Sector. The first involves no structural change, but increased collaboration, constant information flow through the use of shared networks and a joint strategy and communications plan.
The drawback of this, the report says, is that there would still be confusion about each organisation’s purpose and the "confusion and inefficiency" of having three sets of rules – the IoF’s Code of Fundraising Practice, the FRSB’s Fundraising Promise and the PFRA Rule Book. It says there would be limited back-office cost sharing and "tension and organisational overlap" would continue.
The second option is for an independent standards committee to be hosted by the IoF or the FRSB to set all the rules for fundraising, including those for small organisations and face-to-face. It says that a drawback of this model is that each organisation would have to agree on funding it.
The third option is similar to option one and involves the PFRA’s regulatory activity – compliance with site-management agreements and mystery shopping – being moved to the FRSB, turning the PFRA into more of a trade body that would work with the IoF to advocate for face-to-face fundraising and that could be merged with the IoF or become a subsidiary of it.
Option four is that all regulatory activity be moved into a single organisation, separate from a trade body. The report says that having one regulator would make the system easier to understand and having all types of standards administered in one place would avoid confusion. It says that although this option would require additional funding up front, it could save costs in the long term if it helped avoid the current duplication of activities.
The fifth option is that all the activities the three organisations currently perform could be merged into one joint regulatory and trade body. But the report warns that this could bring about "conflicts of interest in performing the advocacy role and adjudicating".
The report says the sixth, preferred option is a mixture of options two and three.