Guidance for charity trustees on public fundraising

Senior Associate Solicitor Gemma Ritchie

Trustees should consider their charity’s reputation and values when making decisions about fundraising, the Charity Commission has warned in new guidance.

The guidance outlines six principles to help trustees ensure their charity complies with relevant laws, provides adequate donor care and meets good-practice standards. Trustees can use the six principles to assess their organisation’s performance.

The six principles are:

  • Effective planning. This involves the charity’s trustees agreeing, setting and then monitoring the organisation’s overall approach to fundraising. They should take account of risks, the charity’s values and its relationships with donors and the public, as well as its income needs and expectations.
  • Supervise your fundraisers. You should have systems in place to oversee the fundraising others carry out for your charity, including in-house and volunteer fundraisers and any commercial partners, all of whom must know what is expected of them. All fundraising arrangements must be in the charity’s best interests and comply with any legal rules or standards that apply.
  • Protect the charity’s reputation, money and other assets. Strong management of the organisation’s assets and resources is needed in order to meet your legal trustee duty to act in the charity’s best interests and protect it from undue risk. This includes considering the impact of your fundraising activity on the charity’s donors, supporters and the public, ensuring the charity receives all the money to which it is entitled and taking steps to reduce the risk of loss or fraud.
  • Identifying and complying with the laws and regulations that apply to your charity’s fundraising. This includes data protection law, licensing and law relating to the charity’s work with commercial partners. There are new rules in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 that may affect your charity. You should seek legal advice to ensure your charity’s fundraising complies with all relevant legal rules.
  • Following any recognised standards that apply to your charity’s fundraising. The Code of Fundraising Practice, which the Charity Commission expects all charities that fundraise to comply with, sets out the required standards and legal rules that apply to fundraising.
  • Be open and accountable. Charities must be open about any commercial relationships and comply with any relevant statutory accounting or reporting requirements that relate to fundraising. A charity must be able to effectively explain its fundraising work to the general public and the charity’s donors and supporters and demonstrate that the charity is well run and effective.

Expert legal advice for charities

The law regulating the constitution and operation of charities has changed substantially in recent years, which makes it imperative for charities to keep up to date through specialist legal advice.

Recognising that the law applying to charities often has much in common with that regulating business – albeit with an extra tier of regulation – at Gaby Hardwicke we house our Charity Law team within our Commercial department.

Our solicitors act for a wide range of charity clients, from small local charitable trusts to national organisations operating via corporate vehicles. To find out more about our services visit our charities page.

To discuss how we can help you contact Gaby Hardwicke Senior Associate Solicitor Gemma Ritchie:

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