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A new approach for public fundraising

As the UK cautiously moves out of lockdown, there is light at the end of the tunnel for many charitable organisations. Although countries across the UK are easing restrictions at a slightly different pace, the recent government announcement that public fundraising can now take place in England has brought a sigh of welcome relief to thousands of charities. Charlotte Urwin, head of policy at the Fundraising Regulator writes about how the new fundraising landscape presents opportunities and challenges for the fundraising sector.

A narrated version of this blog is available at the bottom of the page

Careful return to responsible fundraising

Charity leaders should approach their organisation’s return to public fundraising carefully and cautiously. We are now operating in a very different environment, where there are new risks to consider and manage. More important than ever are risk assessments, which ensure the health and wellbeing of your staff, volunteers and the public. You should also consider that while many people may be eager to give generously to fundraisers they encounter, a lack of public appetite for contact with people outside their household may continue to exist for some time yet.

Charity leaders must ensure that all their fundraising complies with government advice and the Code of Fundraising Practice. They should be able to justify that their organisation has taken adequate measures to protect everyone who may come into contact with their fundraising activities. Public fundraising should feature on the agenda of your senior team meetings so that changes to ways of working can be carefully considered and decision making properly documented.

Fundraising in a safe and sensitive way, complying with government advice and in line with the code, will support a culture of honesty, openness and respect between fundraisers and the public.

New guidance for public fundraising

To support organisations to adapt the way they work, and remain compliant with fundraising regulation, the Fundraising Regulator has published a suite of new guidance that should be considered before fundraising in public. The guidance sets out a framework to aid good decision making and ensure responsible fundraising. It is intended to supplement government guidance and highlights the key issues and areas that organisations need to consider as they plan their return to fundraising.

We have produced specific guidance on events and community fundraising and cash collections, as well as guidance that applies to all public fundraising activities. While this guidance contains specific adjustments that individual fundraisers need to make to their work, senior teams should be aware of the additional expectations. Applying this guidance to the way your organisation works is vital to protecting the reputation of fundraising that charities have worked so hard to build.

Charity leaders are ultimately responsible

New ways of working will take some time to become embedded in fundraising practices, so it’s important that you have oversight on how your organisation is adapting. You may not be directly responsible for planning your organisation’s return to public fundraising. But being confident that your fundraising team has the training and support they need to apply the guidance and carry out their work in line with the code is a matter of good governance.

We will update our guidance as the restrictions start to lift. So do regularly check back to our website.

It remains unclear whether we’ll see future lockdowns as the autumn arrives. So, my one final message is: fundraise, do it well and make a difference. But plan with uncertainty in mind, as it is your ability to adapt and rise to the challenges presented by the pandemic that will ensure your charity’s future resilience.

Narrated by a member of the ACEVO staff

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