Donors Want to See Charity Financials
10 December 2013 at 10:15 am
Three out of four adults in the UK would not donate to a charity which had failed to submit its financial accounts and returns to that country’s charity regulator, new research has found.
An independent ICM poll commissioned by the UK Charity Commission and the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), the self-regulatory body for UK fundraising found that 85 per cent of people gave directly to charity at Christmas, donating an average of about £40 to the good causes they care about.
However, the poll found that charities risk missing out on vital donations if they fail to submit their financial information to the Charity Commission – the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
“A charity's Register profile highlights that it is a legitimate registered charity, and shows whether it is up to date with its financial accounts and returns. A red 'late' flag on an organisation's register profile sends a warning signal to potential donors,” Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, Sam Younger, said.
“With 67 per cent of respondents saying they are likely to make checks before giving in the future now they are aware of the issue, charities should be ensuring their record appears clean to potential donors.”
However, the poll found that 43 per cent of adults never make any checks when approached by a collector for a charitable donation.
When asked about the current checks donors make before giving:
39 per cent of donors ask collectors for ID or question them about the organisation;
27 per cent of donors check that it is a registered charity;
One in five (20 per cent) respondents (excl. Scotland) always or mostly check for the FRSB 'give with confidence' tick branding, which indicates that the charity's fundraising is regulated;
Respondents aged 18-24 and over 65 are least likely to make checks before donating, with 49 per cent and 46 per cent respectively failing to do so;
Overall, women make more checks than men, with 30 per cent of female respondents checking for a registered charity number when approached, compared to 24 per cent of males;
The most popular ways of giving at Christmas time are purchasing Christmas cards and other goods (64 per cent), cash collections (53 per cent), raffles and lotteries (44 per cent) and bag/household goods collections (43 per cent);
Men give an average of £52 directly to charities at Christmas time, with women donating an average of £27.
"Whilst it is encouraging to see levels of giving remaining high and many people taking steps to check whether a charity is registered before donating, this research shows there is still much to be done by both the public and charities themselves to ensure organisations remain accountable,” Younger said.
“We will not tolerate charities that fail to meet reporting requirements, and our enforcement action continues to target these breaches of duty. However, the public needs to work alongside us and use the resources available to them to make checks before giving.
“Last year, there were 6.5 million successful searches for a charity on the Commission's online Register. Charities should be aware that potential donors are checking their details, and we are encouraging those donors not to give to charities that send in their accounts late."
ICM interviewed a random sample of 1162 adults aged 18 and over via telephone in the UK between November 22 and November 24.
Last week the UK’s charity regulator came under fire for not being tough enough on charities in an annual national audit of its operations.
According to a report by the UK National Audit Office (NAO), the UK Charity Commission is not regulating charities effectively, it fails to take tough action in some serious cases and makes poor use of its powers.
The report called, The Regulatory Effectiveness of the Charity Commission, says the spending watchdog recognises that the Commission carries out important and necessary work but finds that there is a gap between what the public expects of the Commission and what it actually does.