Proposals for a ‘Fundraising Preference Service’ - IoF response

Proposals for a ‘Fundraising Preference Service’ - IoF response 254Kb PDF

1 April 2016

Proposals for a ‘Fundraising Preference Service’ - IoF response


  • The IoF strongly believes that the needs of individuals who lack capacity or are in a vulnerable circumstance must be appropriately met and acted on. The safeguarding for individuals in need should be the number one priority for the FPS and it is absolutely critical that this is achieved. We therefore support and endorse the proposition to separate the needs of individuals in vulnerable circumstances, or those lacking capacity, from a wider ‘communication preference’ service.


  • Embedding donor choice in an FPS is absolutely fundamental. Individuals must be able to choose the particular channels through which they do not want to receive fundraising (mail, telephone, email). Without this, the FPS will be a blunt tool that will fail to provide genuine choice to people.


  • Individuals must also be given the choice to remain ‘opted-in’ to ‘charities that they currently support or have supported in the past’ without the individual needing to specifically name those charities. Many donors will want to continue hearing from, and donating to, charities that they support (for example, in response to a Christmas appeal) but may be unable to recall the names of those charities at the time of registration on an FPS. This addition would also make for a far simpler and user-friendly experience for an individual through the FPS as they could choose to select an option which serves their needs without needing to find and select the names of multiple charities.


  • We support the proposition that the FPS should apply to ‘fundraising communications’ but not wider charitable communications. The FPS must guard against the unintended consequences for individuals of completely cutting people off from charities they have supported in the past. It is right that individuals are still able to hear about the important causes they care about while also having the reassurance that they will not be overwhelmed by fundraising asks.


  • The needs of beneficiaries and charities must be fully considered in the design and implementation of the FPS. An FPS which does not recognise and embed an appropriate balance will have failed in giving due regard to the millions of beneficiaries and charitable causes that the UK charity sector serves.


  • The decision to establish an FPS must be thoroughly reviewed and assessed. Since the recommendation for establishing an FPS was made, a number of significant changes have occurred: the Code of Fundraising Practice has been strengthened to give donors more control and protect vulnerable people, and forthcoming legislative changes will require ‘unambiguous’ consent to contact supporters. Within this context, full consultation and assessment on the impact of introduction of an FPS for the UK charitable sector is needed alongside due consideration of whether, given the wider changes, it provides a proportionate, needed and necessary service that is of value to people. The FPS must work towards improving individual’s relationship and trust with the charity sector - regular and transparent reviews must be planned to ensure it achieves this objective while avoiding unintended consequences.

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