FRSB Complaints Report 2014

Charities reported 48,432 complaints to the Fundraising Standards Board in 2013, a 44 percent increase on the previous year. 

The FRSB Complaints Report 2014 shows the majority of the complaints were about direct mail, telephone and doorstep, and came from a total of 20billion fundraising requests, up from 13.2billion in 2012.  

The figures are based on complaints received by 1,203 FRSB member charities in 2013, which raise a total of £4.6billion in voluntary income annually. The number of charities reporting complaints increased 13 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Complaints about clothing collection bags rose sharply in 2013, nearly trebling to 5,699, while the number of bags distributed fell by 45 percent, making it the fourth most complained about technique, the report shows. The report states that just one charity, which is not named, is responsible for 72 percent of all complaints with most relating to bags not being picked up.

The overall spike in complaints was due to a small group of major charities, with the biggest organisations, with incomes of more than £10million, reporting an average of 515 complaints, compared to the smallest reporting just one, the report says. Two charities new to the FRSB reported 5,834 complaints between them, with eight in ten of these relating to direct mail.  

Last year’s report showed complaints about door-to-door fundraising had increased 93 percent on 2011 levels to 5,555. In 2012 it took 1,573 requests to generate one complaint.  The latest report shows doorstep complaints continued to rise in 2013 and were up 27 percent to 7,041, with total volume increasing only slightly to 44.3m.

The number of requests taken to generate a complaint is down to 1,395. Although the volume of requests for 2011 is unknown, there were 43.6million door knocks in 2012, up from 31.3million in 2010.

The FRSB asked members about cause of complaints about doorstep, with 42 percent of all concerns were about the behaviour of doorstep fundraisers, 1,488 were about a general dislike of the method and 12 percent were about the timing of visits.

Complaints about street fundraising fell 10 percent to 739 in 2013, with volume of requests down by 13 percent. Two unnamed charities were responsible for 42 percent of all street complaints.

According to the report, telephone fundraising takes the least number of requests to generate a complaint at 923. Telephone accounts for 17 percent of all complaints and is the second most complained about technique, attracting 8,019 in 2013.

Charities told the FRSB that the tone/content of the call and dislike of the method were the most common causes for complaint. The report shows 36 percent of complaints about telephone fundraising related to a general dislike of the method in 2013, which is up from just 10 percent in 2011.

Complaints about both addressed and unaddressed mail rose 38 percent to 18,226 in 2013, with a 57 percent increase in volume to 444million mailings over the same period. The majority of complaints, 93 percent, are about addressed mailings.

The report states that three charities were responsible for four in ten of all addressed mail complaints and just one charity reported more than half of complaints about unaddressed mailings.

To download the summary and full report visit