here while clearly passionate, simply fail to deal with reality or take into account uncomfortable truths."">

PFRA slams Charity Aid report on chugging

Written by Andrew Holt

The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), the regulatory body for street and doorstep direct debit fundraising, has slammed a report on chugging by Charity Aid for its "unfounded and unsubstantiated claims" that chugging is the most damaging form of charity fundraising.

Peter Hills-Jones, head of policy and communications at the PFRA, said: "The arguments put forward by many who oppose street fundraising, such as those that appeared here while clearly passionate, simply fail to deal with reality or take into account uncomfortable truths."

Hills-Jones contested that in contrast, the PFRA exists to ensure that where street and doorstep fundraising takes place: it is both authorised and accountable.

Hills-Jones said: "To this end, we are now closing in on the signature of our 100th local authority partner, which will bring the total number of jointly managed fundraising sites to well over 300."

He then noted that the latest independent survey by the Local Government Association found that over 70% of councils who had site management agreements in place with the PFRA saw complaints fall; 96% of those questioned also said they were satisfied with how we resolved complaints.

Hills-Jones added: "We have never, and will never, claim we can make problems disappear. What we do offer is practical solutions.

"While others may wish to carp from the side lines, the PFRA has rolled up its sleeves and got on with the job of improving things on the ground. We are clear nonetheless that we expect professional fundraising to be just that – professional.

"That is why street and doorstep is the only form of fundraising with a voluntary, self-imposed penalty points system.

"Unfounded and unsubstantiated claims therefore that ‘aggressive tactics’ may be used is simply not borne out by the evidence.

"The average penalty imposed by the PFRA for instance fell from 44 to 39 points last year."

He added that: "Although we welcome a broad range of voices to the debate around improving public fundraising, we also feel it is not unreasonable to expect responsible commentators to do so on the basis of facts.

"The pernicious and wilful use of misinformation however, such as the claim that somehow public fundraising is ‘taking’ money from donations is simply absurd.

"Not least this fails to take into account that according to our own figures, the majority of street fundraising teams are now run in-house by charities themselves.

"All fundraising incurs costs for charities, but according to figures released by the Charities Aid Foundation, money received via direct debits is now the largest single source of donations by value (29%).

"At around £2 billion, this income could not easily be replaced by alternative forms of fundraising, nor should it.

"The role of volunteers, in all aspects of charities’ work is invaluable, as is the role of professional fundraisers."

Hills-Jones concluded: "While some may wish to turn people against each other, we at the PFRA prefer to celebrate all who work for charities and focus on those who benefit from the money raised, regardless of the source."

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