High street charity fundraisers to be investigated for poor practice

 

Charity fundraisers are to be investigated for poor practice amid allegations they were using confusing tactics and flouting rules.

The Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) will look into Tag Campaigns, whose street fundraisers were reportedly failing to abide by some regulations while raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The regulator announced it was launching a probe after an investigation by The Sunday Telegraph exposed the tactics used by the workers known as "charity muggers", or "chuggers".

An undercover reporter recruited to Tag as a street fundraiser claimed that during a one-day training session, trainee fundraisers were not informed of the need to make any disclosure that they are paid - a legal requirement for fundraisers in the UK - the regulator said.

Video footage handed to the FRSB by the newspaper showed team leaders urging fundraisers to be persistent and one fundraiser confessed her technique to get passers-by to stop and talk was to "confuse" them, falsely telling them that they had dropped something, the FRSB said.

Best practice standards state that fundraisers should "never deliberately confuse, mislead or obstruct the public".

A team leader was also allegedly sighted following pedestrians down the street after they had clearly indicated that they were not interested, stating "we have to bend the rules every now and again."

Alistair McLean, chief executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said: "The footage of both training and on-street fundraising that I was shown by The Sunday Telegraph is deeply worrying.

"Fundraising agencies must maintain the highest standards at all times, protecting and building the brands and reputations of the charity clients they work with.

"Any breach of these standards can have a weighty impact on trust and confidence in the charity, fundraising technique and, ultimately, donation levels.

"Professional fundraisers are legally required to make a clear statement disclosing the cost of the campaign and must not deliberately confuse a member of the public. The FRSB is contacting Tag Campaigns urgently to investigate the allegations.

"Face-to-face fundraising is a very effective way to attract new donors, raising considerable income for good causes each year. It is an important income generator and attracts relatively few complaints.

"Charities do it because it works and most street fundraising meets strict industry guidelines. It is a real worry when we hear of any instance where these standards have been breached."

Tag Campaigns was raising money for the cancer charity in various towns and cities around the country last November when the poor practice was alleged to have occurred.

Fabian French, director of fundraising at Marie Curie, said: "We welcome this investigation by The Sunday Telegraph. We are disappointed by these allegations and we have launched an immediate investigation.

"This is the first time the charity has worked with Tag. They were running a pilot project to test a new way of fundraising for Marie Curie, which has now come to an end.

"Marie Curie is a long-standing member of the Fundraising Standards Board and fully supports its fundraising promise, as well as the codes of fundraising practice published by the Institute of Fundraising.

"We are also a member of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, which has its own code of fundraising.

"Street fundraising remains a vital source of income for many major charities but it must be done in the right way."

Tag Campaigns said in a statement to The Sunday Telegraph that after an "urgent investigation" it was immediately retraining all staff and increasing the number of "mystery shoppers" to ensure fundraisers are complying with the rules.

A spokesman said: "We very much regret that the rules of disclosure seem not to have been followed in some instances, and must apologise to any members of the public who feel they did not have the full picture before sending a text donation."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower