Fundraising is regulated by the Fundraising Regulator – an independent, non-statutory body that regulates fundraising across the charitable sector in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
They set and maintain the standards for charitable fundraising in the Code of Fundraising Practice to ensure that fundraising is respectful, open, honest and accountable to the public and investigate complaints from the public about fundraising (where those complaints haven’t been resolved by the charities themselves).
Fundraising regulation in Scotland is different to the system in place within England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Fundraising by charities only registered in Scotland is subject to Scottish charity law and the Scottish system of self-regulated fundraising through the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel.
Whether you are raising money for a charity or not, you will need to make it really clear who or what you are fundraising for. Always tell the truth and take care not to exaggerate any facts relating to beneficiaries.
If money is raised for a specific purpose, it has to be used for that purpose. This means that you will need to think carefully about what you will do if you raise more money than expected or if you fail to achieve your fundraising goals. If you think it’s likely that you may exceed your target, you may need to inform donors from the start how any excess funds will be used.
We believe that fundraising should always be a positive experience; an action that enables the public to engage with and support the causes that really matter to them. So, always treat the public fairly and with respect, and take care never to pressurise anyone into giving, particularly those who may be considered vulnerable.
Think carefully about how you will handle funds. Safe and secure donation handling is important to protect the organisation from fraud, theft or embezzlement and to assure donors that their donations and gifts are used for the purpose for which they were given. There are specific laws for how to manage public collections, bank transactions and the signatories required to access charity bank accounts. Also, make sure that you carefully consider expenditure, ensuring that fundraising costs are proportionate.
If you have carefully considered your fundraising decisions, ensured that you have the right approvals internally and acted in line with your organisation’s values and policies, you shouldn’t go too far wrong. Be willing to stand up for your fundraising decisions and, if something does go wrong or a complaint is received, make sure you handle any concerns promptly and sensitively.
Some areas of fundraising are also subject to broader non-charity specific legislation, which is enforced by these regulators:
Charity Commission for England and Wales
Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
Advertising Standards Authority
Information Commissioner’s Office
For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our cookies page.
Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.
We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. We’d also like to set Dotdigital website behaviour cookies to improve the email communications you receive from us by collecting information on the content you view on our website.