By Andrew Holt
Tag – the company behind some of the country’s successful face-to-face fundraising campaigns – has announced it is taking a number of steps to remedy alleged shortcomings in its fundraising techniques exposed in a Sunday Telegraph investigation.
Senior managers at the company worked throughout the weekend to build a robust new training regime that will address the problems highlighted in the report.
Tag will ask the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association to approve its reforms, and they will come into effect as soon as approval has been granted.
In addition, disciplinary action against several Tag employees has been instituted, and all current fundraising staff will be retrained.
Tony Charalambides, Tag’s managing director, was also in touch with Alistair McLean, the chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, on Sunday in order to pledge Tag’s full co-operation with the FRSB’s forthcoming investigation.
Specifically, the changes to the training regime will:
Increase the amount of office-based training, so that more time can be devoted to best practice in the physical aspects of the role, particularly how people should be approached in the street;
Increase the prominence given to training on the PFRA rules, with a specific focus on the rules around financial disclosure;
Introduce a new compliance form, which new staff must sign before they can be taken on. This will ask them to agree that:
1. they have been briefed on and understood the PFRA rules;
2. they understand that a breach of them will result in disciplinary action;
3. they understand the legal obligation on making proper financial disclosures;
4. they understand what ‘stopping techniques’ are appropriate and which should not be used;
5. they will ask permission before making any text donation to charity, and that they understand that any attempt to pass this off as a chargeable donation will be a disciplinary offence.
6. Signing this document will be a condition of employment;
There will be a new test at the end of the first day’s training – anyone who fails it will not be invited back the following day.
Commenting on the newspaper’s article, Charalambides said: “We are passionate believers in the value of face-to-face fundraising, and understand that the public must have confidence that the rules are strictly adhered to if the integrity of this method of raising money is to be maintained.
"Whilst we are certain these were isolated incidents we are very disappointed at the paper’s disclosures, and immediately realised that firm action had to be taken in order to reassure both our clients and the public at large that everything is being done to prevent unethical behaviour.
“Tag has helped generate in excess of £50 million in charitable donations since its inception.
"We are proud of our role in helping so many of the UK’s leading charities achieve their fundraising goals, but on this occasion we are not proud of the shortcomings that the paper exposed, and are determined to do everything we can to put them right."
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