New body to maintain standards for charitable fundraising
Our charity clients will be interested in the introduction of the Fundraising Regulator, a body established following concern about the way in which charities contact potential donors.
The regulator is tasked with developing a register of organisations who have signed up to its code of practice, investigating poor practice, working with the Charities Commission and Information Commissioner’s Office to act upon wrongdoing, and implementing a Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) to allow opt-outs from communication.
Signing up to the FR register is voluntary but a levy will be made on registrants that spend £100,000 or more each year on generating voluntary income. The levy is based on spending bands – the charge for £100,00 to £100,499 spending is £150, for example. Smaller charities that fall below the £100k threshold can still register with the FR for an annual £50 fee (although the registration system is not yet open).
The FR code of practice was formulated after an investigation into the death of Olive Cooke, whose name appeared on numerous charity databases and who was pressured into making donations that she couldn’t not afford.
The code (available in full at the FR website) sets out a set of general principles and specific behaviours that fundraisers should adhere to. Most people reading the code will be dismayed that any charitable organisation would have acted against the principles it lays out. Two examples from the code are “organisations MUST NOT exaggerate facts relating to the potential beneficiary” and “organisations MUST NOT take advantage of mistakes made by the donor”.
Hopefully the main impact for the small charity sector is a levelling of the playing field where the curbing of the most aggressive fundraising tactics of the larger organisations allows their voice to be heard.
Lewis Smith & Co. provides specialist accountancy services for charities and and not-for-profit organisations.
Lewis Smith & Co. – Tax accountants for Kingswinford businesses.