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25 June 2010
• Presents common set of messages to PFRA's varied stakeholder groups
• Aims to rebut most common criticisms of 'chuggers'
The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association – the self-regulatory body for all types of Direct Debit face-to-face (F2F) fundraising – has unveiled its new, totally revamped, website – www.pfra.org.uk.
Following a comprehensive strategy and positioning review, the site has been designed to better reflect PFRA's regulatory role as the bridge between charities and local authorities while at the same time being accessible to any members of the public who visit.
Ian MacQuillin, PFRA's head of communications, says: "We have different stakeholder groups who have different expectations of what we should do for them. In the past, we tried to segregate visitors to the website according to who they were and where they'd come from.
"The upshot of this was that we lost consistency in delivering our messages because we seemed to be saying different things to different people.
"On the new website, we will be helping visitors navigate it according to what information they need from us, not who they are."
The website has been produced by web design and development agency 9web, which specializes in delivering user-centred online solutions for the charity and non-profit sector.
MacQuillin says: "This was a sophisticated, slightly schizophrenic brief in that we had to present a single consistent style while addressing different audiences, but 9web immediately grasped what we needed and delivered a sleek and easily-navigable site."
Ian Clarke, director at 9web, says: "The architecture of the new PFRA website provides clear user journeys through to the content of interest for all key stakeholders and public visitors to the site. We have also delivered a simple, intuitive administrative interface built on open source technology to put the PFRA editorial team firmly in control of their online communications."
As the PFRA is not a public-facing regulator, the website is not primarily intended for use by the public. However, one of PFRA's roles is to champion and defend F2F, and the new content – based on 12 new key messages developed by PFRA – has been written in the expectation that members of the public will inevitably visit.
Ian MacQuillin says: "F2F fundraisers – or 'chuggers' as they are often called – rouse a lot of public interest so it's very likely that members of the public will find our site. As PFRA is also tasked with promoting and defending F2F fundraising, we've taken this opportunity to try to engage with those people who object to 'chuggers' by presenting counter-arguments to the most common criticisms."
The website also marks a shift in outlook for the PFRA regarding the term 'chugger'. Chugger – a portmanteau of 'charity' and 'mugger' – was coined in 2002 as a disparaging and pejorative term.
"We believe that a lot of the objections to 'chuggers' are based on a lack of real understanding of how street fundraising works. We want to use this new website to try to change that," says MacQuillin. "But if we want people to engage with us and listen to our arguments, we've got to be speaking the same language as they do."