New fundraising rules for charities in England and Wales

The Charities Protection and Social Investment Act 2016 (the Act), which only applies to charities in England and Wales, was introduced following a number of scandals in the Charity Sector such as the tragedy associated with Olive Cooke and fundraising ethics, and the demise of Kids Company. The fundraising sections of the Act came into force from 1 November 2016 and cover two new requirements that trustees and senior management must be aware of:

Where a charity (registered or unregistered) uses a professional fundraiser or commercial participator to raise funds, new terms must be included with the compulsory written agreement, already required between the two parties, that cover:

  • details of any voluntary regulatory fundraising scheme or standard that the commercial organisation undertakes to be bound by
  • how the organisation will protect the public from unreasonable intrusion, persistent approaches or undue pressure; and
  • how compliance with the agreement will be monitored.

Those registered charities that have to have their accounts audited also have to include the following additional information regarding fundraising in their trustees’ annual report:

  • approach to fundraising
  • work with, and oversight of, any commercial participators or professional fundraisers
  • fundraising conforming to recognised standards
  • fundraising complaints, and
  • protection of the public from unreasonable intrusion, persistent approaches or undue pressure.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW) and the Fundraising Regulator have jointly developed guidance on how charities will be affected by these new provisions.

The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016: Fundraising reporting requirements guidance

In response to this new Act and recent scandals, the Institute of Fundraising, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Charity Finance Group and Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations have published a new guide on fundraising aimed at all trustees. The handbook provides an overview on the key issues associated with fundraising for charities and identifies the key questions that should be asked by trustees. These include the following:

  • Is our charity compliant with the Codes of Fundraising Practice?
  • What is our fundraising strategy?
  • How can we ensure our fundraising is sustainable?
  • Are we making the most of tax-effective giving?
  • Is our fundraising legal?
  • Is our fundraising ethical?

Further details are available in the practical guide.