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Charity E.ON Age UK

Charity Commission chief warns sector to stop 'hounding' donors through intrusive marketing


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

February 28, 2016 | 2 min read

Chairman of the Charity Commission, William Shawcross, is to warn the sector against pushy marketing practices including cold-calling and belligerent street collecting, or 'chugging'.

The head of the government regulator will urge charities to to stop "hounding" would-be donors during a public meeting in Southampton tomorrow, in a bid to salvage the sector's reputation following a year of controversy surrounding some charities’ fundraising methods.

According to the Sunday Times, Shawcross will call on firms with a charitable status to review their funding strategies, saying: “It cannot be right for vulnerable people, older people, generous people, to be hounded on the telephone, through the letterbox or in the street.”

The call to action follows the suicide of one of Britain's longest-serving poppy sellers, Olive Cooke who had her details registered with 99 charities and allegedly received up to 3000 requests for donations each year . Her death last summer prompted the launch of a new self-governed Fundraising Regulator, which will replace the current Fundraising Standards Board.

On top of warnings around funding, the Charity Commission is set to issue a formal alert to 1700 charities that have forged commercial arrangements. Any which fail to abide by guidelines could face strict regulatory action; including the banning of "unfit trustees".

The caution will advise against partnerships that could "jeapordise" a charity's reputation or impact on "public trust and confidence".

Earlier this month Age UK pulled the plug on its partnership with E.On following criticism that it had made £6m by offering pensioners a fuel tariff with the firm, despite the fact it was was more expensive than other similar deals.

Charity E.ON Age UK

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