Richard Snelling – NFP and Charities Specialist
The Fundraising Regulator has carried out an exercise to monitor compliance with the new reporting requirements in respect of fundraising practices introduced by the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.
Which charities are affected?
Charities subject to the audit requirement for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 November 2016 need to include certain statements about their fundraising practices (such as how fundraising takes place, compliance with codes of practice, complaints, vulnerable beneficiaries etc.).
The Regulator has now carried out a review of the Annual Reports of 106 charities that spend more than £100,000 on Fundraising and have published their findings. While most of these charities have included something in their annual report, many of these were deficient in terms of compliance, omitting one or other of the required disclosures, and only 40% of the reviewed reports were found to be totally compliant.
How to comply with the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.
To assist with the process the Regulator has published some guidance on how to comply with the Act and how to move reporting from good to excellent. In particular the need to give a full explanation of fundraising practices is emphasised, as is the requirement to comment adequately when things haven’t gone well.
6 areas that need to be covered in the fundraising practices explanation
- The charity’s approach to its own fundraising activities and any fundraising activities done on its behalf. In particular, by a professional fundraiser or commercial participator.
- If the charity or someone acting on its behalf was signed up to a voluntary fundraising regulation scheme or standard. And if so, which scheme or standard.
- If the charity failed to comply with the scheme or standard mentioned above.
- If the charity monitored fundraising activities done on its behalf. If so, how did it monitor these activities?
- The number of complaints received by the charity or anyone working on its behalf, about fundraising activities done by itself or someone on its behalf.
- What the charity has done to protect vulnerable people and the wider public from certain behaviour during (or in connection to) fundraising activities? Behaviour includes: a) unreasonable intrusion on a person’s privacy b) unreasonably persistent methods to receive a donation c) undue pressure on a person to give a donation (of money or other property).
The whole area of fundraising is one that has damaged the reputation of the sector with the general public and by transparent reporting it is hoped that trust can be rebuilt. The Charity Commission in their guide to Charity Fundraising emphasises the responsibility of trustees to adequately monitor their organisation’s fundraising practices, and by reporting effectively this is a very good way for them to demonstrate that they are fulfilling their responsibilities.