Fundraising regulator’s five best practice considerations for charities working with third parties in fundraising

Catherine Orr, the Head of Casework at the Fundraising Regulator has written a blog giving the Fundraising Regulator’s opinion on the recent Charity Commission inquiry into Hospice Aid UK, reported in our last blog post here.

 In very brief summary, the charity renewed a fundraising contract which raised a lot of money - £3.2 million, but the contract cost the charity £3 million in fees and running costs. Catherine doesn’t think that “what happened in this case would align with the reasonable expectations of donors giving to the cause”. Why would anyone donate to a charity if they knew only 6% of their donation would be available for actual charitable purposes?

Catherine sets out 5 considerations for charities working with others to fundraise.

  1. Act in your charity’s best interest

To mislead donors as to how their donation will be used could damage a charity’s reputation. The Fundraising Regulator “would generally expect that the greater portion of money raised through these arrangements is transferred to the charity, with the understanding that a third-party can cover legitimate costs and generate reasonable profit.”

  1. Understand the standards that apply

The Code of Fundraising Practice (“the code”) has guidance to follow when negotiating fundraising agreements.

Some commercial fundraising companies are registered with the Fundraising Regulator – these can be searched for on the Regulator’s register. If the company is not registered, charities should ask why not and seek assurances that they will follow the code.

  1. Make sure third parties are monitored effectively

Charities should monitor performance to ensure that the third party is compliant with the code and ensure that the senior leadership and board is kept up to date.

  1. Consider the donor perspective

Donors must be able to make an informed decision to donate. Charities must take all reasonable steps, including solicitation statements where appropriate, to ensure donors have enough transparent information.

  1. Engage with us for help and support

The Fundraising Regulator, in addition to having a helpline, publishes investigation summaries and an annual complaints report.

Catherine’s blog can be found here. If you would like any advice about fundraising our charity team would be happy to help.

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