All street and doorstep F2F fundraisers are required to comply with best practice as laid down in the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice and its associated guidance – the IoF sets the best practice rules for all types of fundraising, such as direct mail and telephone, not just F2F.
But in addition to the IoF code, anyone carrying out F2F fundraising must also follow further rules that have been set by the PFRA in the Rule Books for street and doorstep F2F. These Rule Books form the basis of our penalty points regime.
All individual members of the Institute of Fundraising are required to abide by the codes of practice. All employees of organisational members of the PFRA are required to abide the code of practice and guidance, irrespective of whether they are individual are members of the Institute. This includes any fundraising organisation this is subcontracted by a PFRA member but not itself a PFRA member.
Section 16 of the IoF code relates to street and doorstep F2F fundraising (it also covers collections for cash and goods). This section stipulates, among other things, that:
- Collectors ought not to pressurise the public to give their support, but they can use reasonable persuasion
- Collectors ought not to approach individuals that may reasonably be considered to be vulnerable adults.
- Collectors ought to, when asked to do so, terminate their approach in a polite manner.
And of course, the code stipulates that charities must at all times be compliant with relevant laws, inlcuding the requirement to make the solicitation statement.
The guidance contains further details on how fundraisers should conduct themselves. For example, it elaborates on the requirement to terminate an approach by saying that:
If a person clearly and obviously indicates – by words or gestures – that they do not wish to be engaged by a fundraiser – either at the initial approach or during a conversation/engagement – the fundraiser should desist from the engagement and make no further attempt to engage that person.
A code of practice for F2F fundraising was first drawn up in 2000 and went through several revisions (2005, 2008 and 2009) until all the IoF’s codes for different types of fundraising were combined into a single code in 2011. At this point, many of the PFRA’s extra rules for F2F fundraising – such as the Three Step Rule – were incorporated into the code.
PFRA Rule Books
After the code of practice was revised in 2009, and at the request of the Institute of Fundraising, PFRA began developing some further rules that fleshed out some of the basic stipulations in the code. These are contained in the Rules Books for street and doorstep F2F and form the basis for PFRA’s penalties and compliance regime.
They contain conduct, operational and administrative rules (most of the new rules relating to the conduct of fundraisers are now part of the code).
We produce separate Rules Books for street and doorstep fundraising.
Street Rule Book
Examples of the rules contained in the street Rule Book are that fundraisers must not:
- follow a person for more than three steps
- stand within 3m of a shop doorway, cashpoint, pedestrian crossing or station entrance
- knowlingly sign up to a Direct Debit anyone unable to give informed consent through illness, disability, or drink or drugs
- approach any members of the public who are working, such as tour guides or newspaper vendors
Further to this, fundraisers must always terminate an engagement when they are clearly and unambiguously asked, by speech or body language, to do so.
The Rule Book – and now the IoF code guidance – also provides enhanced guidance for some of the terms found in the code of practice.
For example, while the code of practice says fundraisers ought to “avoid causing obstruction”, the Rule Book and IoF guidance define obstruction as: “Any deliberate action that causes a person to involuntarily stop or suddenly change direction in order to get past the fundraiser and continue their journey.”
The Rule Book and IoF guidance also contains the ‘Three Step Rule’.
This stipulates that fundraisers may not take more than three steps alongside someone they are attempting to engage and is designed to prevent people being followed by fundraisers. Fundraisers are allowed to take any number of steps towards people but cannot, under any circumstances walk alongside them for more than three steps, even if they are invited to do so.
Doorstep Rule Book
Much of the content of the doorstep Rule Book mirrors the street Rule Book, but omits rules that pertain exclusively to street fundraising, such as the three-step rule. Rules specifically about doorstep F2F inlcude:
- Fundraisers ought always knock or ring at a property’s main entrance and not use side entrances or back doors, unless a resident gives permission to do so
- Fundraising may only take place between 9am and 9pm (10am on Sundays and public holidays) unless fundraisers have permission to visit outside these hours
- Fundraisers should take extra care when calling once darkness has fallen so as not to cause alarm or distress to householders.
Most of the rules relating to fundraiser coduct were incorporated into the Institute of Fundraising’s guidance to its unified code of fundraising practice in November 2012.