The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association’s proposed member accreditation programme is designed to achieve two significant things.

First, ensuring that all face-to-face (F2F) fundraisers receive a minimum level of training before they go onto the streets or door-to-door. Delivered online and able to be completed on fundraisers’ mobile devices, it’s a modern response to the challenge of a large, ever-changing and highly dispersed workforce.

This will be backed up by a new push to observe our members’ training sessions. We recognise that the PFRA needs to become more of an ‘upstream’ regulator – identifying issues and resolving them before they become problems.

A focus on the recruitment and training of fundraisers will become an increasingly large part of our regulatory work and we’re confident it can deliver real improvements in terms of the donor experience.

It’s a system that was successfully implemented in the UK and I’m really looking to fast-track our programme here in Australia based on what I know has worked well before. The training assessments will provide members with a clear assessment score to benchmark them against their peers, as well as an action plan if improvements are needed.

Second, the PFRA is absolutely committed to ensuring that all our members have the right policies, procedures and plans in place to deliver consistently excellent fundraising. Whether they’re an in-house charity team or a fundraising agency, everyone needs to meet that PFRA standard at all times and that’s the bottom line.

We have six accreditation modules in the pipeline that the PFRA considers vital to provide assurance that all our members’ fundraising operations are working to best practice standards. These include corporate governance, data protection and supply chain management as well as managing effective field operations, training skilled fundraisers and preventing fundraiser fraud.

All of these areas are important in their own right, but taken together as a package the PFRA is confident the accreditation will set a new gold standard for excellence in F2F fundraising. Smarter and more targeted regulation will result in F2F becoming a more respected form of fundraising and, in turn, ensure its sustainability grows.

That, ultimately, was the reason for the creation of the PFRA and I know the vast majority of fundraisers out there share our vision. For those who don’t, our new accreditation system will highlight that very quickly and allow us to take equally swift action.

Peter Hills-Jones is CEO of the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA). He was previous director of compliance at the Institute of Fundraising in the UK and chief executive of the UK Public Fundraising Regulatory Association.

PFRA recently expanded to two more cities, Adelaide and Perth, which join greater metro areas of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in receiving regular compliance checks by the PFRA. The PFRA’s regulatory reach is now over 60% of the country (by population). 

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