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Fundraising Regulator publishes complaints report

The Fundraising Regulator has today published its report on complaints received by charities about fundraising in 2016. The submissions from almost 900 charities of different sizes represent a demonstrable willingness and commitment from organisations to work with us and make changes where we have identified breaches of the Code. Key findings include:

  • The total number of complaints reported by those 893 charities was 42,782.
  • Overall fundraising using direct marketing (which includes contact by telephone, email and addressed direct mail) and face-to-face fundraising, in all forms, was the cause of the most complaints followed by public collections.
  • The charities who reported to us sent over 300 million pieces of addressed direct mail and reported receiving just over 16,000 complaints. This is a very low ratio of complaints versus activity.

The Fundraising Regulator had previously considered how best to build on the insights provided by the FRSB in its ‘Annual Complaints Return’. This was a document published annually by the FRSB outlining statistical information of the complaints reported by its members about fundraising. The Fundraising Regulator’s report, published today, represents a new approach to how these data are used.

Crucially, the Fundraising Regulator places a greater emphasis on what lessons can be learnt by the sector from the complaints, rather than focusing on statistics.  We do this by providing an analysis of complaints received by charities, alongside an overview of our regulatory activity in 2016.

Engagement by charities with the Fundraising Regulator’s complaints reporting process has been encouraging, with nearly 900 charities submitting data. A number of charities who were not previously members of the FRSB, but who do pay the levy, have expressed a wish to engage.  This demonstrates positive sector support for voluntary regulation.

Commenting on the complaints report, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator, Stephen Dunmore, said:

“This report is a helpful and informative document which demonstrates the nature of complaints made by the public about fundraising practices and the positive progress made by the sector in addressing these concerns.

“We are delighted to have received nearly 900 responses, demonstrating the collaborative nature of the sector, as we work together to learn from complaints in order to improve public confidence in fundraising practices.”