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It's official: No Cold Calling means No Cold Calling

7th September 2015

Yesterday I mentioned an adjucation by the Fundraising Standards Board about a charity ignoring 'No Cold Calling' signs. The charity in question, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, had argued that it was, legally speaking, debatable whether or not fundraisers are cold callers. There was nothing in the Institute for Fundraising's code of practice about 'No Cold Calling' signs and they argued that they were therefore perfectly entitled to pester households that asked not to be pestered.

At the time it was the Fundraising Standards Board's policy to routinely rule in favour of charities, and so the self-regulatory body agreed that charities were allowed to ignore 'No Cold Calling' signs. It did, however, also recommend that the Institute for Fundraising should carry out research to determine the public's views on whether 'No Cold Calling' signs apply to charities and that this research should inform any alterations made to the code. It also repeated a suggestion they had made in its Complaints Report 2014: that there perhaps should be a Doorstep Preference Service – an opt-out scheme for doorstep fundraising, similar to the Mailing Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service.

It seems that the Government's threat to start regulating charity fundraising has encouraged the Institute for Fundraising to finally consider 'No Cold Calling' signs. From this month its code of practice has changed (indeed, what a coincidence!). Point 16.10(s) of the code now reads:

Fundraisers MUST NOT knock on any door of a property that displays a sticker or sign which includes the words 'No Cold Calling'.

They've even issued an eight-page guidance document on 'No Cold Calling' signs. Among others, it explains how different types of stickers should be interpreted:

Wording Approach with caution and sensitivity Must not knock
No Cold Calling  
No Doorstep Callers  
No Calling Without Appointment  
No Charity Fundraisers  
No Salespeople  
No Traders  
No Surveys  
No Religious Groups  
No Junk Mail  
No Canvassers  
No Hawkers  
Source: Institute for Fundraising

The list isn't exhaustive but should give charity nuisances a clear idea of how to treat anti-cold calling signs. Some of the stickers in the table, such as 'No Junk Mail', probably shouldn't be in the list but if anything it should now be clear to everybody that 'No Cold Calling' means 'No Cold Calling' – even if some dodgy face-to-face fundraising agency is knocking on doors to raise money for poor kittens in Battersea. Or, at least that should now be clear to 400-odd charities that are a member of the Institute for Fundraising…

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7th September 2015
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