Fundraising Guidance for Charities
The Fundraising Regulator and the Chartered Institute of Fundraising have recently published guidance for charities on how they can restart their fundraising activities safely. Prepared in consultation with Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive, this new guidance sets out key principles to be adopted to ensure that fundraising can be carried out safely and sets out a framework to aid good decision making.
Many charities depend on the income raised from fundraising to be able to carry out their charitable activities but will have seen that income dramatically reduce in recent months. In June the Chartered Institute of Fundraising reported that charities are expecting their voluntary income to reduce by 42% this year on average, which will significantly hamper charities’ ability to carry out many of the vital services they perform. Charities may be keen to recommence their fundraising activities as soon as possible.
The guidance makes clear that fundraising should only restart when it is safe to do so and where the risks associated with the activities can be properly managed. Effective planning of the activities is key, with the need to carry out thorough risk assessments that take into account the latest government guidance so that decisions on whether to fundraise are thoroughly considered and carefully evaluated. Failure to adequately assess the risks involved before commencing any fundraising activity is likely to be a breach of health and safety law and which in serious cases could result in criminal prosecution. Proper oversight over those decisions is essential, so the involvement of the trustees is crucial, as they have ultimate responsibility for the operations of the charity.
It is equally important that charities also have in place plans to stop fundraising in the event that restrictions are put in place once again. This is particularly relevant in areas with local lockdowns.
Safeguarding the public, staff and volunteers is of paramount importance, with appropriate measures implemented that permit social distancing to be observed. Fundraisers are likely to require training in these measures before any activity takes place. Charities should be transparent with the public and others on how they will carry out their fundraising activity responsibly, including how they consider the needs of people in vulnerable circumstances.
In the guidance charities are reminded to not apply undue pressure on donors, many of whom may be under financial pressure of their own at the current time. Fundraisers always need to be polite and respectful, and mindful of how the public may respond to any fundraising activity that is carried out.
In addition to the key principles more detailed guidance on public fundraising has been issued, setting out ways by which charities can carry out fundraising in a safe manner.