Defining the role of a fundraising watchdog

The new Fundraising Standards Board (FSB) described in your charities feature (MW July 27) is an excellent initiative that should help to build public trust in charities.

However, let’s be realistic about what the FSB can deliver. A fundraising standards body can’t tell charities how to spend their money – so it won’t answer ActionAid’s criticism that aid is sometimes inappropriate. And I can’t see how it could tell a charity how much to spend on rebranding or advertising – any more than the ASA could tell a company how big its advertising budget should be.

What the FSB can do is help ensure fundraising is honest, that donors’ wishes and preferences are observed, and that fundraising tactics that most reasonable people would consider outrageously guilt-inducing are scrutinised and challenged.

This last point is the most interesting, because it is subjective. Just because you personally object to “chugging” or receiving direct mail packs containing sticky address labels, it doesn’t mean that everyone else will agree with you. Watch out for some interesting test cases coming this autumn.

David Burrows

Head of fundraising



Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here