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#37 Tougher penalties for PFRA members

Although the title of this series of blogs is ‘Things I learned this week’, and should be filled with all the new learnings from this week’s #FIAConf2018, I have opted to let them settle before writing my slant on proceedings, and instead, focus my thoughts on the announcement that PFRA Australia, the self-regulatory body for face-to-face fundraising, has overhauled its powers to suspend members and issue heavier penalties.[1]

Firstly, I’m a fan of the PFRA, and secondly, I detest bad fundraising, so this is wonderful news.

Most agencies and those connected to face-to-face know who the unethical suppliers are and know the potential impact the continued poor behaviours of these few have on the rest of our industry. Stories of sales reps without permits running from mystery shoppers, credit card fraud, and telling potential donors to cancel any existing pledge to other causes to sign up to theirs will ensure, if reported, that these people and their practices are driven-out of F2F fundraising. Good riddance.

The PFRA have just terminated one Sydney-based member and reinstated another, Rise Fundraising, after a successful retrain – well done Rise. Peter Hills-Jones has also revealed that the maximum 12-month penalty for breaches has more than doubled from $10,000 to $21,000, This amount would be enough to sink a small operator with bad practices and should hopefully have the impact that we need.

But an issue that might stall the cull is the lack of accountability for the sub-contractors and phoenixing marketing offices who operate under the flag of a larger supplier with the budgets to wear fines. Is it time for sub-contracting agencies, owners and directors to have their own PFRA membership that can be suspended and, if necessary, terminated?

In the meantime, I call all mystery shoppers, interested parties, and charities to report misconduct to the PFRA here as we are ALL accountable for the behaviours of a few bad apples.

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