The civil society leaders’ network ACEVO has submitted its response to Fundraising Regulator’s consultation on its proposal to fund the new body through a registration and levy system. ACEVO contests that the body’s funding should be voluntary. ACEVO further submits that the regulator’s very establishment represents a unique opportunity to move the emphasis of regulation from the policeman to the pastor.
ACEVO’s response to the regulator was based on the responses received from a survey of its members and concluded that that the Fundraising Regulator should be financed from a voluntary fee, similar to the Advertising Standards Authority model.
ACEVO’s members drew attention to the disproportionate burden that the levy could represent for smaller and medium-sized charities compared to the larger charities – they might be paying more money but it’s a larger slice of the smaller organisation’s pot. There was concern that the levy could divert money away from core activity and front-line delivery.
Members further alluded to fears of mission creep, that the regulator’s reach will widen and widen and more and more organisations will be caught in its net. And they raised the question of the very definition of what is meant by ‘fundraising spend’ – for example does it include salaries?
The robustness of ACEVO’s response reflected the passion of its members observations. ACEVO informed the regulator that while the sector is not inherently anti-regulation, the current proposals from the regulators pose a real risk of disproportionate regulation by multiple regulators.
Commenting on the submission ACEVO Chief Executive Asheem Singh said: “We can see no good reason, other than the convenience of the regulator, for financial contributions to regulatory bodies to compulsorily come from charitable donations, which have been freely given by the British public, not to pay for regulation, but to do social good. We contend that the levy should be voluntary and that it should be left up to individual organisations to decide, based on their own operational parameters, whether such a cost is justifiable or necessary.
Charity regulation has lost its way and become obsessed with ‘policing’ when a sector as diverse as this often requires support to ensure bad practice does not happen in the first place. The fundraising regulator, funded by voluntary contributions, would be a testament to this principle and a welcome counterpoint to the other regulators in this ever more crowded space.”
The full response can be found here.