Charities hit by new fundraising requirements!

From 6 July 2017 a new Fundraising Preference Service was launched allowing members of the public to control direct marketing approaches from charities re fundraising communications.

Why have a Fundraising Preference Service (FPS)?

 The FPS was set up by the Fundraising Regulator as a further means of restoring public trust and confidence in the charity sector. This followed damaging publicity in 2015 about the questionable fundraising practices of some charities which prompted a review of fundraising regulation. The result was the establishment of a Fundraising Regulator (Regulator) with responsibility for the Code of Fundraising Practice. A year on the Regulator has set up an additional service which gives members of the public control over the nature and frequency of direct marketing approaches that they receive from charities including fundraising communications. This means that through the FPS an individual can stop email, telephone, address post and/or text messages from selected charities.

What does it mean for a charity?

 Charities will now have to check the FPS before sending any direct marketing communications to ensure that an individual has not asked not to receive such information. In real terms this means that no marketing should take place without the FPS first being checked so charities will have to review their marketing processes to ensure this step is taken before any approaches to the public are made.

What if a charity does not observe the FPS?

 The Regulator has power to deal with breaches of its code and has a complaint mechanism published on its website ( Practically speaking it is likely to write to a charity notifying it of any complaint(s) in the first instance and giving it the opportunity to resolve matters with the individual. Any non-observance of the FPS is also likely to give rise to a breach of data protection laws which contain a right for individuals to object to being directly marketed. Breach of existing laws can result in fines of up to £500,000 (with the risk of much higher fines under new rules effective in May 2018) so charities would be well advised to observe the FPS as well as other existing preference service lists immediately (such as the mail preference service, telephone preference service).

What will the effect of the FPS be?

For both the charity sector and public this is good news!

If charities observe the FPS it should lead to much needed improvement in public perception of the sector and restoration of confidence in it. So rather than seeing this as a limitation on its activities, charities should embrace the opportunity to be seen as reputable fundraisers respectful of the public’s wishes. For the public it is a welcome opportunity to regain some control over direct marketing approaches to which they are subject (we all resent being bombarded by unwelcome marketing!) while still engaging with a sector which is a key contributor to society.

For further assistance please contact Jennifer O’Brien at or on 020 7481 6383.