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New watchdog launched to tackle rogue fundrasiers

Credit: PA

Large charities may be forced to sign up to a new watchdog under changes being introduced by the Government to tackle rogue fundraisers.

Charities will at first be given the opportunity to voluntarily sign up to the new regulatory system but ministers will have the power to compel them if they fail to protect supporters from undue pressure to donate to good causes.

The new fundraising watchdog is aimed at making sure large charities stick to a strict code of good practice, including protecting the identity of donors.

Under the new regime anyone who is inundated with fundraising marketing material from charities will be able to press "reset" and stop receiving this material.

Fundraising overhaul needed as 'difficult' tactics exposed

Fundraising agencies have been putting "too much pressure" on people to donate more money to charity, as well as trading and swapping people's personal details, the head of a review has said.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, told ITV News that such "difficult" practices had shocked members of the public and needed to be looked at.

Sir Stuart headed a review into current fundraising systems, which called for a tightening of standards to help protect people from being bombarded.

It comes after a string of well-publicised cases where vulnerable people were repeatedly targeted and badgered for more donations.

Among the powers Sir Stuart recommended for a new regulator were:

  • Ability to 'name and shame' those which break the rules
  • Temporary bans on charities carrying out certain kinds of fundraising if they are found to be misbehaving
  • Ability to refer to The Charity Commission, which can take legal action
  • A fundraising opt-out service for people to request they do not receive any calls
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