Save the Children to ban cold calls as concerns over fundraising methods grow

Save the Children plans to ban cold calling as the latest report from the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) reflects recent concerns over the role of fundraising following the death of Olive Cooke.

save the children

The charity said it will publish new guidelines on Wednesday banning cold calls.

Save the Children was one of many charities criticised for contacting Cooke, who is believed to have committed suicide two months after revealing that she received so many fundraising letters and phone calls that she no longer answered the phone for friends and family.

Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Save the Children’s CEO Justin Forsyth said: “We have to get the balance right between raising much-needed money with making sure members of the public, who want to help us save lives and give every child the chance to learn, feel respected and valued.”

He added that the charity is working with the FRSB to review fundraising practices.

The annual report from the FRSB released today (7 July), analyses the 52,389 charity fundraising complaints in 2014. It showed that just 2% of complaints over the year came from charity advertising despite the fact it had the biggest reach of all fundraising methods. The majority of complaints came from direct marketing and public collections.

The report also shows an 11% increase in the number of FRSB charities completing complaint returns from 2013 to 2014, with the majority driven by a small number of large charities – while the average number of complaints per charity in 39, the major charities averaged 500 complaints.

The causes for complaint among other methods were in line with recent concerns following the death of Cooke, with a general dislike of the method, the tone and frequency of contact cited as the most common concerns.

In June the FRSB called for the Code of Fundraising Practice, which is run by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF), to be updated to provide greater clarity about the rules for donor consent, limit the frequency of charity approaches and improve guidance on communicating with older supporter after the death of Cooke led to 384 complaints to the board.

Speaking on the new report, Colin Lloyd, chair of the FRSB said: “In light of concerns raised following the tragic death of Olive Cooke, the need to listen to donors and the wider public and to reflect that feedback within future fundraising planning has never been more evident.

“The common themes in complaint monitoring of a general dislike of some fundraising methods and the frequency of charity asks must be met with a true commitment by all practitioners to question the number of approaches they make and the ability with which they enable people to opt out of future contact.”