UK Trustees Warned on Fundraising
8 December 2015 at 9:59 am
The UK charity regulator has issued a warning that charity trustees must take responsibility for fundraising in their organisations.
The Charity Commission, an independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has published new draft guidance which stated more clearly than ever that trustees must take responsibility for their charity’s fundraising activities or face the legal consequences.
The Commission has also launched a public consultation on its revised guidance for trustees.
The Commission makes clear that trustees have a key role to play in setting their charity’s approach to fundraising and ensuring it reflects their charity’s values.
A review by the Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Sir Stuart Etherington, into the self-regulation of UK fundraising identified that charity trustees had too often been absent from discussions on fundraising practice or values.
“Trustees have always had to lead in setting their charity’s approach to fundraising, by complying with the law and the charity sector’s own standards, protecting a charity’s reputation and making sure that the charity’s fundraising reflects its values,” Charity Commission Director of Policy Sarah Atkinson said.
“However recent widespread criticism of charity fundraising and the resulting damage to public trust and confidence in charities has shown that some trustees have not overseen fundraising effectively.
“The draft guidance signals a new approach to ensure improved oversight by trustees.”
The Commission said it supported trustees by providing guidance but would use its powers to protect charities which are at serious risk as a result of failures in fundraising leadership.
It said it expected trustees to ensure that their charity’s fundraising complied with the law and recognised standards, and was carried out in line with their legal trustee duties.
The draft guidance identified six key principles to help trustees fulfil their responsibilities for their charity’s fundraising, including planning effectively, supervising fundraisers, protecting the charity’s reputation, complying with the law and recognising standards, as well as being open and accountable.
“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,” Atkinson said.
“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.”