How is fundraising by charitable bodies in the United Kingdom Regulated – the Fundraising Standards Board and the Fundraising Promise  

Self-regulation for charitable fundraising in the United Kingdom

Since 2007 the regulation of charitable fundraising in the United Kingdom has been achieved through a process of self-regulation.

What is meant by self-regulation?

Self-regulation is a process whereby the institutions which undertake a certain activity are able to regulate themselves by creating a specific body from within the industry which will be in charge of the regulation of the industry and the creation of certain codes which must be followed by all of the individuals involved in the particular industry.

How does the self-regulation of charitable fundraising in the UK work?

The principle behind the introduction of self-regulation of charitable fundraising in the UK is to allow fundraising organisations to demonstrate best practice, to eliminate poor practice and to increase public trust in the voluntary and community sector.

What is the reason for self-regulation of charitable fundraising in the UK?

Self-regulation of charitable fundraising in the UK enables charities to consistently demonstrate high standards across the UK, enabling charities to visibly demonstrate their commitment to best practice by using a logo established by the Fundraising Standards Board (FSRB) and therefore enable themselves to build upon trust and confidence displayed by the public towards those charities.

What are the key parts to the concept of self-regulation?

There are three key parts to the concept of self-regulation for charitable fundraising in the UK, they are as follows:

  1. The Fundraising Standards Board
  2. The Fundraising Promise
  3. The Codes of Fundraising Practice

Members of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) are required to make a Fundraising Promise and are required to adhere to the Codes of Fundraising Practice.

The Fundraising Standards Board

What is the Fundraising Standards Board?

The Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) is an independent body which has been established in order to introduce and operate the self-regulation of fundraising in the UK.

What is the role of the Fundraising Standards Board?

The role of the Fundraising Standards Board is to encourage charities and other organisations which are involved in fundraising to become members of the self-regulation scheme. Furthermore the Fundraising Standards Board will ensure that all of its members commit to the highest fundraising standards and that they have in place a robust complaints procedure – both of these aspects are designed to increase public confidence in the bodies undertaking fundraising in the UK.

What conditions must all members of the Fundraising Standards Board adhere to?

All members of the Fundraising Standards Board must adhere to the following conditions:

  • They must follow the Codes of Fundraising Practice
  • They must display the FRSB tick – the tick must be used on all fundraising material enabling people to understand they are a member of the FRSB instilling the requisite confidence in the general public
  • They must tell the public about the fundraising promise
  • They must be ready to handle complaints – this will be done by having the requisite complaints procedure in place

The Fundraising Promise

What is the Fundraising Promise?

The Fundraising Promise is a commitment which must be made to the general public by all members of the Fundraising Standards Board. The Fundraising Promise represents a commitment to the highest standards of good practice ensuring that all fundraising activities in the UK are open legal and fair.

The Fundraising Promise centres on the following key principles:

  • Commitment to high standards
  • Being honest and open
  • Being clear
  • Being respectful
  • Being fair and reasonable
  • Being accountable

Commitment to high standards

A member of the FRSB should state that they do all they can do to ensure that fundraisers, volunteers and fundraising contractors which work with them raise funds in compliance with the codes and the promise. The promise should also state that the member of the FRSB comply with all legal obligations in relation to health and safety, the environment and data protection.

Being honest and open

The member of the FRSB should state in their promise that they tell the truth, do not exaggerate, ensure that they do what they have stated they will do and will be available to answer all reasonable questions about our fundraising activities and costs.

Being clear

The members of the FRSB must state that they are being clear about who they are, the functions that they undertake and how gifts provided to them will be used. Where there is a promotional agreement with a commercial company in place such as one which provides charity fundraisers doing street work details of this must be made clear concerning how much money will go to the fundraiser etc.

Being respectful

The members of the FRSB must make a promise to respect the rights, dignities and privacy of all supporters and beneficiaries ensuring that they do not put undue pressure on them to make a gift and to respect the decision of an individual to cease providing money to that particular charity or cause.

Being fair and reasonable

The members of the FRSB must ensure that they take care not to use any images or words that may cause unjustifiable distress or offence and they must take care to ensure not to cause unreasonable nuisance or disruption – this can be particularly evident whereby charities use individuals to approach people on the street to try and raise funds.

Being accountable

The members of the FRSB should ensure that they are accountable and that individuals can contact them if they are unhappy with anything which they have done during the fundraising procedure. All members should have an appropriate complaints procedure in place – a copy of which must be provided upon request.

If a complaint cannot be resolved using the complaints procedure the member of the FRSB must accept the authority of the FRSB to resolve the complaint.