- Enhances Institute of Fundraising’s code of practice
- New rules that are binding on PFRA members
- Penalty points regime to commence in 2012
- Doorstep F2F rules to follow later in the year
From today [22 August 2011], street fundraisers working for PFRA member organisations will need to abide by new rules that go beyond the stipulations of the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Practice on Face-to-Face Activity.
Under the new rules, published in the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association’s Rule Book (Street F2F), street fundraisers must:
- not stand within three metres of a cashpoint
- ensure that any extra information (over and above the ‘notifiable amount’) given as part of the solicitation statement conforms to the same standards of accuracy required for calculating the notifiable amount
- not imply that a donor can sign up ‘without commitment’
- not sign up anyone unable to give informed consent through illness, disability, or drink or drugs.
The Rule Book incorporates the ‘three-step rule’ – stipulating how many steps a fundraiser may take when engaging with a member of the public – which is already in use with PFRA members. It also specifies that team leaders must be identified.
Transgressions of the rules will attract penalty points (of 20, 50 or 100 points), which will be converted into a monetary fine of £1 per point once a 1,000 point threshold is reached (i.e. a member who clocks up 1,450 penalty points will be fined £1,450). The full penalty points regime will commence in April 2012.
As well as introducing new requirements, the Rule Book interprets several areas of the IoF code, such as identifying the circumstances that could be considered as bringing a charity into disrepute, and what is meant by ‘obstruction’.
For instance, while the code of practice says only that fundraisers must never “deliberately confuse or obstruct the public”, the Rule Book defines 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.”
However, although the Rule Book expands on the IoF code, it should always be read in conjunction with the code of practice and does not replace it or supplant it.
Nick Henry, PFRA’s head of standards, says: “The Institute’s codes of practice are the benchmarks for best practice standards across all forms of fundraising. The code of practice for F2F therefore sets the standards for all forms of F2F fundraising. But it contains some terms that are open to interpretation, such as what is meant by obstruction, and it has been the aim of the PFRA since the code was last revised in December 2009 to enhance the code by providing extra guidance in these areas.
“The purpose of the Rule Book is therefore to provide PFRA interpretation of the terminology contained in the code and create new rules that are binding on PFRA members.
“Because street F2F is the most visible form of fundraising there is, those organisations that carry it out must always strive for the highest possible standards and this is exactly what charities and agencies are doing by voluntarily subscribing to these new rules.”
The Rule Book for street F2F comes into force on August 22, when the next four-week diary allocation period starts.
It will run for a trial period of six months, during which time penalty points will be allocated but not converted to a monetary fine. At the end of the six months, all members and other stakeholders such as the IoF, Fundraising Standards Board and local authorities, will be able to take part in a full review.
Amendments suggested during the six-month review will be considered for an updated version of the Rule Book that will commence at the start of the 2012/13 financial year, when the full penalty points/monetary fine regime will also come into operation.
PFRA is currently working on a companion rule book for doorstep F2F, which it is hoped will be published by the end of the year.