Clarification of Fundraising Standards
The fundraising standards in the Code of Fundraising practice relating to the conduct of collections have been recently been revised alongside the PFRA’s face-to-face fundraising Rule Book. It is therefore worthwhile elaborating on some of these standards.
To adhere to this standard a good guide might be that a member of the public should be able to identify:
- the charity – from a reasonable distance
- the fundraiser and their employer (if different from the charity) – on close inspection
- the team leader.
An ordinary member of the public should be able to clearly identify a person as a fundraiser working on behalf of a charity from a distance of 5 metres. Charitable branding should be visible and identifiable. Branded clothing should not be tied around waists or covered by unbranded clothing or other property, or in any other way be obscured, and should be clean and in good condition to facilitate legibility and brand integrity.
In order to facilitate this, ID should:
- be in the form of a badge secured about the upper front part of the fundraiser’s torso by clip, chain, or lanyard
- be of not less than credit-card size
- be signed or in some other way authorised (embossing seal etc) by the employing provider and/or commissioning user
- carry a contact phone number via which a member of the public can verify the bona fides of the fundraiser at any time the fundraiser is on duty
- be robust enough to withstand normal wear and tear and exposure to the elements in the context of outdoor work in busy situations/circumstances
In addition, ID should conform to best practice guidance on producing print materials for visually impaired people.
So that they can ask a question or make a comment or complaint, a member of the public should be able to clearly identify the team leader in any given fundraising team. To this end the team leader should wear a PFRA-approved form of additional visual identification on the upper front part of the Team Leader’s torso at all times while on duty, whether or not actively fundraising.
Secondary (‘two-step’) interactions with households may take place outside these times but only at the express and prior invitation of each individual household being visited. Extra care should be taken when visiting households after dark and fundraisers should exercise sensible discretion if accessing isolated locations as to whether the visit might cause unnecessary anxiety to residents. Best Behaviour, which prohibits fundraisers acting in such a way that causes a person to become “excessively startled or anxious”.
To help meet this standard, no fundraiser should work or position themselves within 3 metres of a:
- shop doorway
- pedestrian crossing
- cashpoint machine
- station entrance
Additionally, team bags should not be left unattended on the public highway, a team member should always remain within 3 metres and line-of-sight of a ‘team bag’ (where one is used).
Examples of vulnerable adults include any person at any time who they reasonably conclude is or may be incapable of informed consent for any reason (including but not exhaustively):
- intoxication through drugs or alcohol
- incapacity due to illness or disability
- age-related confusion (except with the expressed consent of a close relative, guardian or carer physically present at the time)
- learning difficulties (except with the expressed consent of a close relative, guardian or carer physically present at the time)
- any other circumstance where capacity is in doubt
If a person clearly and obviously indicates – by words or gestures – that they do not wish to be engaged by a fundraiser – either at the initial approach or during a conversation/engagement – the fundraiser should desist from the engagement and make no further attempt to engage that person.
Cold Calling Control Zones that have been created legitimately are those that have been created in line with the Trading Standards Institute’s Guidelines.
If a zone does not meet the requirements above or fundraisers are unable to obtain the information, the fundraisers should nonetheless assess the risks of carrying out cold calling within the zone. In particular, they should consider:
- The reputational risk arising from flouting local wishes. There may be adverse press comment as well as animosity from residents and complaints to the local Trading Standards Service and the Fundraising Standards Board;
- Many residents may believe that the zone is enforceable and has legal basis;
- Whether and how approaches should be made to houses which display a ‘no cold callers’ sticker;
- How they will justify the fundraising organisation’s position; and
- Whether the benefit to the fundraising organisation is likely to outweigh the detriment.
The following guidance provides more detailed explanations of how you can adhere to the above standards generally, as well as the two standards below:
- Once a verbal greeting has been made a fundraiser should not take more than three steps alongside or in pursuance of that member of the public, even when asked to do so.
- In no case should any of these ‘three steps’ involve fundraisers deliberately placing themselves directly in the path of a member of the public in such a way that they or any casual observer may reasonably construe ‘obstruction’, as set out above.
- If the member of the public has not come to a halt within the three number of steps allowed for, the attempted engagement should be discontinued.
- Fundraisers should not intentionally approach members of the public who are ‘on duty’ and going about their business, such as: uniformed officials, tour guides, street vendors, carers, teachers, etc.
- Fundraisers should not approach members of the public who are seated on street furniture or are seated in the outdoor seating area of a private business.