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19th September 2017

Changes to the Code of Fundraising Practice

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The Code of Fundraising Practice and its associated Rulebooks for Street and Door Fundraising outline the standards expected of all charitable fundraising organisations across the UK.
But be careful – it’s not only registered charities which are regulated in this way. The Fundraising Regulator regulates all fundraising by or on behalf of charitable, philanthropic and benevolent organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including exempt charities (such as academies, voluntary aided schools and national museums) and other organisations with entirely or predominantly charitable, philanthropic and benevolent objectives.

Recently, the Code has been updated and we list below the latest changes. Some of the changes are legally binding, whereas others are recommended practice. We would strongly advise, however, that all the changes are implemented, in order to ensure compliance with best practice. Some of the key changes are outlined below. The full code can be accessed here.

 

TRUSTEES/GOVERNING BODIES…..

  • MUST have regard to national guidance in overseeing fundraising activities and any third parties fundraising on their behalf.
  • MUST make all reasonable efforts and exercise due diligence to ensure the ongoing compliance of third party fundraising organisations with the Fundraising Code.
  • Trustees MUST also ensure that they comply with their duties in charity law and apply principles of good governance equally to their approach to fundraising. The Charity Governance Code may be accessed here:
 

FUNDRAISERS….

  • Fundraisers MUST NOT continue to ask an individual for support if:
  • that person clearly indicates – by word or gesture – that they do not wish to continue to engage; or
  •  they have reasonable grounds for believing, in the course of their engagement with the individual, that they are in vulnerable circumstances which mean they are unable to make an informed decision to donate.
  • Fundraising agreements between charities registered in England and Wales and professional fundraisers MUST include details of how compliance with the agreement will be monitored by the charity as specified within section 13 of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016
  • The ‘solicitation statement’ MUST be made by professional fundraisers either before money is given by the donor or before any financial details relevant to the transaction are requested by the fundraiser (whichever is the sooner). That statement must include:
  • the name/s of the institutions which will benefit and if more than one, the proportions in which they will benefit;
  • the fact that they are an officer, employee or trustee of an institution; and
  • the fact that they are receiving remuneration. (They do not have to state the amount of their remuneration.)
 

ADDRESSING CONCERNS OF STAFF/VOLUNTEERS ABOUT FUNDRAISING METHODS…

  • Fundraising organisations (which can include for example charities, social enterprises, NHS trusts and Universities) MUST have a clear and published internal procedure for members of staff and volunteers to report any concerns they may have regarding their organisation’s fundraising practice which MUST include:
  • the type of issues that can be raised and the process for doing so;
  • how the person raising a concern will be protected from victimisation and harassment;
  • how and what the organisation will do in response to receiving such information; and
  • how an individual can escalate their concerns on fundraising practice to the Fundraising Regulator.
 

PHONE CALL FUNDRAISING

Fundraisers MUST NOT, at any point in a telephone call, be unreasonably persistent or place undue pressure on the recipient to donate, and in particular, MUST NOT ask for a financial contribution more than three times during that call.

 

HOUSE TO HOUSE COLLECTIONS…

Organisations operating house to house bag collections for charitable purposes MUST NOT deliver bags to a property that displays a sticker or sign which includes the words ‘no charity bags’, ‘no clothing bags’ or any other words which clearly indicate that the householder does not wish to donate through this method.

 

Timetable for implementation of changes to the Code

There is a short grace period for the implementation of some of the changes, but charities and other bodies which are covered by these regulations are expected to take action immediately to make the necessary adjustments. For example, the new rules which will affect whistleblowing policies must be in place by 30 November 2017. Further information about the relevant deadlines may be found here.

For further advice on how to comply and guidance on your responsibilities under the Code, please contact a member of our Charities Team.