Charity regulator prepares register for “rogue” fundraisers

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association has set up a working party to establish an approved register for face-to-face and door-to-door fundraisers.

Graham Bunce
Graham Bunce

The association is hoping the move will stamp out ‘rogue fundraising’ in the sector where fundraisers fraudulently fill in direct debit donation forms with bogus details or the details of friends and family that will cancel the direct debit before any money goes to the charity, in order to meet weekly targets to get paid.

The approved register would ensure only accredited fundraisers could work for charities and agencies, in a scheme similar to that of the Energy Retail Association’s EnergySure Scheme, set up in 2002 to regulate the standards of door-to-door selling in the energy sector.

Under current regulations, rogue fundraisers can move from charity to charity untracked, even if they have been caught falsifying details.

The working group will also look into other measures to curb ‘rogue fundraisers’ such as improving inter-agency relationships.

Graham Bunce (pictured), general manager of Support Direct, the fundraising arm of the Cobra Group, will chair the working group which also includes British Red Cross head of individual giving, Richard Verden.

The PFRA will consider evidence from members and stakeholders as well as looking outside of the sector for suggestions for cost effective and easy to implement procedures to minimise rogue fundraising says Bunce.

The scam affects charities and fundraising agencies, but doesn’t directly have a bearing genuine donations made by the public.

Fundraising agency, Together Fundraising, requested that a working party be established at the PFRA’s AGM in June. A decision on the register is expected in October.

The charity sector is also campaigning to change the current legislation concerning telemarketing, to allow consumers who register on the Telephone Preference System to ‘opt in’ to receiving for charity fundraising-related calls.

Street fundraisers, or chuggers, as they are known, only account for 1 per cent of the complaints the Fundraising Standards Board receives, with five times as many complaints levied towards direct mail form charities.

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