If self-regulation by charities of fundraising is in the last-chance saloon, as we are often told, they are cautiously ordering another round.
From April, the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) plans to introduce an accreditation scheme to vouch for the training and behaviour of fundraisers employed by the biggest charities and agencies.
“Absolutely this has to work,” acknowledges Peter Hills-Jones, the IoF’s director of compliance. “Because if it doesn’t, the public and the government aren’t going to have any more patience.”
His remarks signals the awareness that charities have jeopardised, if not necessarily lost, a great deal of goodwill as a result of recent revelations about questionable fundraising practices. Some regulatory changes have been made, but the sector is very much on probation and risks more draconian intervention if it fails to show that it has put its house in order.
Hills-Jones believes people feel strongly protective of long-established charities and are passionate about any damage to the causes they promote.
“If we can turn that passion into convincing people we have changed, then the British people are nothing if not fair-minded and will give [us] a second chance,” he says.
The new accreditation scheme is expected to apply to 15 big charities with their own in-house fundraising teams and 25 fundraising agencies that work on behalf of other charities. It will cover telephone and street fundraising, including on private sites such as shopping malls and railway stations.
Accreditation will comprise an initial desktop exercise, observation of training and public engagement and, following a decision, any remedial work judged necessary to win approval.
The IoF does not intend to name and shame any charity or agency that fails the assessment, but to publish a list of those accredited successfully so that the public, or, more pertinently, says Hills-Jones, journalists and others with knowledge of the sector, will be able to identify any charities trading without the institute’s stamp of approval. Hills-Jones considers it “almost inconceivable” that any board of trustees of a larger charity would sign off a contract with a fundraising agency that was not accredited.
To read the full Guardian article click here.
From: The Guardian – Voluntary Sector Network