Charities under fire over collection bag 'bombardment'

Written by Lauren Weymouth

Householders are being “bombarded” by charities delivering clothing collection bags to people’s homes against their wishes, Lorde Grade has said.

In an interview with The Times, the chair of the Fundraising Regulator warned that by delivering collection bags against people's wishes, charities are "alienating people", which is "unhealthy for the charity sector".

In the year to March, collection bags was the most common cause of the 1,080 complaints received by the Fundraising Regulator, The Times reported, ahead of direct mailshots and high street fundraisers.

Most commonly, people complained about receiving clothes bags from agencies working on behalf of charities, despite having signs such as “no charity bags” placed on their doors.

“I suspect it is the proliferation, it is the sheer volume. People start to feel invaded, don’t they? They really do feel bombarded and invaded,” Lorde Grade told The Times.

“If they are doing something that is alienating people, it is unhealthy for the charity sector. They need to understand what reaction they are getting. I think they are not terribly sensitive or maybe not resourced, maybe not skilled enough to be that concerned about what the public reaction is to their fundraising initiatives.”

Commenting on Lord Grade’s comments, Institute of Fundraising chief executive, Peter Lewis, said his “flowery language is unhelpful”.

However, he added: “But in substance, he is right. Charities should respect people's preferences and not ignore "no charity bags" signs.”

The Fundraising Regulator is currently re-drafting its code of practice for fundraisers to make rules on charity bags clearer.

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