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Essential Facts About The Fundraising Preference Service

Working closely with so many charities, we’ve seen first-hand how committed they are to balancing proactive fundraising with respectful, ethical calling. Now, following the launch of the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) on July 6th 2017, there’s another important requirement for all outbound charity fundraising.

The service has already proven popular, with almost 500 suppression requests from members of the public in the first five hours of the website being online. However, with obvious overlap with services like the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), we’ve noticed some uncertainty around how the system works, who is affected, and what charities are required to do.

To help, here is a short summary of the main facts that affect charity call centres, and how the right dialler technology can help.

How does the Fundraising Preference Service work?

The Fundraising Preference Service takes the form of a website and telephone number that members of the public can use to opt-out of charity fundraising calls. This takes place on a per-charity basis, so a consumer can decide to stop contact from certain charities while allowing calls from others.

When someone opts-out via the FPS, the affected charities have 28 days to stop all direct marketing activity to that person. Distinctly, these ‘suppression requests’ affect all forms of communication. If you’re in a multi-channel contact centre environment, you will need to cease activity by phone, email, SMS, and post.

If you are unable to find a record of the individual, the information should be held and cross-referenced against all future data.

What happens to charities that don’t comply?

The requirements of the FPS are now reflected in an updated Code of Fundraising Practice. However, the code remains an optional form of industry regulation and, as a result, is unable to issue fines.

Instead, it is expected that charities who do not comply with consumer preferences in the FPS will see their cases passed to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Historic cases suggest fines could be anywhere around £25,000, but it’s worth remembering that the ICO is likely to make enforcement particularly severe in early cases.

Who is affected by the FPS?

The FPS currently applies to charities in England and Wales, but will soon apply to charities in Northern Ireland. This refers to where your charity is registered, not necessarily where your contact centre is located or where you are conducting fundraising.

Those charities that spend more than £100,000 a year on fundraising will have already been invited to register. Smaller charities will be notified on an ad-hoc basis when a member of the public starts a suppression request with the FPS.

How does the FPS relate to TPS, CTPS and MPS?

Much of the controversy around the new service suggests that the Telephone Preference Service, Corporate Telephone Preference Service and Mail Preference Service already cover similar ground and should keep consumers protected.

However, as the charities we work with acutely understand, fundraising is an unusual area of society. The fundraising calls people receive come with a uniquely emotional impact that sales campaigns simply don’t have.

That’s why the FPS represents a more granular approach to opting out. It gives consumers more control over which charities can contact them, without encouraging a blanket opt-out from all fundraising which could be potentially disastrous for charities.

How dialler technology can support FPS compliance

As our charity customers begin the process of navigating these new requirements, the right technology can play a useful role. Hostcomm’s contact centre solutions help keep your call centre compliant with everything from Ofcom regulations to PCI and, now, FPS requirements.

  • In essence, your outbound dialler should always let you:
  • Remove individual records and stopping activity to given people
  • Run automated checks against a list of opted-out FPS records

Of course, we’re always happy to provide charities with additional support and advice on filtering data and stopping records.

Find out more about our Outbound Call Centre solutions for charities

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