Fundraising Guide Revised to Improve Trustee Responsibility

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In the last 12 months, trustees have been dragged through the mud as a consequence of endless fundraising blunders. In response, reviews and consultations have been taking place in to how the sector can be better regulated and how the public’s confidence can be restored. This began with The Etherington Review in September 2015, which looked in to charity fundraising practices and regulation, and has continued with the charity watchdog revising the fundraising guidance for trustees (Document: Charity fundraising: a guide to trustee duties).

With the public in agreement that charities have been taking the wrong approach to fundraising, on 3 December 2015, the Charity Commission published its draft revised guidance for trustees. Although charities have always had a legal responsibility to ensure that they use best practice when it comes to fundraising, the draft guidance places more focus on trustee duties and encourages trustees to take more responsibility when it comes to fundraising.

Due to the widespread criticism that has evoked from the Olive Cooke case, charities have lost the public’s trust. The aim of the revised guidance will encourage trustees to take a new approach when implementing their fundraising efforts. As a result, the draft guidance discusses six areas that trustees must meet in order to fulfil their charity fundraising responsibilities:

  • Being accountable and open
  • Compliance with fundraising law
  • Meeting recognised standards
  • Effective planning
  • Protecting the reputation and assets of the charity

To add further, the new guidance is shorter and is hoped will replace the current guidance: Charities and Fundraising.

Failure for trustees to take their fundraising responsibilities seriously is considered a breach of the law and charities can expect to be contacted by the charity watchdog.
Director of Policy and Communications at the commission, Sarah Atkinson, stated “The revised guidance reflects the need to put public trust back at the heart of charity fundraising. It makes absolutely clear that trustees are in the driving seat of their charity’s approach to fundraising. This doesn’t mean that we expect them to become expert fundraisers themselves – but the buck really does stop with them. This guidance explains what we as the regulator expect of them”.

Feedback on the consultation can still be given online until the consultation closes on 11 February 2016.