Mary Roberts, Stakeholder & Policy Manager for Wales at the Fundraising Regulator, outlines some funding challenges voluntary organisations are facing, and how regulatory principles can help those considering a new fundraising campaign.
THE CHARITABLE FUNDING REGIME IN FLUX
Historically the voluntary sector in Wales has been heavily reliant on grant funding to deliver the crucial services it provides. But this is changing. Even before coronavirus hit, the sector was experiencing a reduction in grant funding, and many charities were looking at more diverse income sources to plug the gaps. As we emerge from the pandemic, the sector now has a cost of living crisis to contend with – which will impact both the people charities support and their budgets. Financial resilience has never been more important.
This ‘perfect storm’ means that many organisations are adapting their funding strategies at speed, looking at areas such as legacy fundraising and lotteries, and considering whether fundraising from the public is right for them. Others, whilst keen to explore new income streams, find the complexities and potential cost of these daunting.
Wherever you are on your fundraising journey, it is important to remember that regulation is there to support, not hinder. Indeed, good regulation ensures the sector is acting in a way that is legal, open, honest, and respectful, and is crucial to protect the public and the reputation of the sector more generally.
FUNDRAISING STANDARDS WILL HELP YOU SET OUT ON THE RIGHT PATH
The Code of Fundraising Practice (the code) contains the standards that apply to fundraising carried out by all charitable institutions and third party fundraisers in the UK, and is available in both Welsh and English. As the independent regulator of charitable fundraising in Wales, England and Northern Ireland, we set, maintain and promote the code standards, in consultation with the public, fundraising stakeholders and governments across the UK.
The code is not a legal handbook, but does include standards that reflect the law. Making sure organisations follow, comply and are able to engage with the code is incredibly important. This is why we have a host of guidance, as well as a free advice service for charities and the public to ask any questions they have on the code and fundraising regulation. We also work closely with other regulators and organisations to deliver training and events, and share best practice guidance.
So whether you’re new to fundraising, looking to expand your existing capabilities, or simply considering your options, there is plenty of support available. Here are some key tips to help you:
Familiarise yourself with the Code of Fundraising Practice
- The code is underpinned by four key values: legal, open, honest and respectful. You should always bear these in mind when planning your fundraising campaign.
- We have produced a short webinar to help you understand what the code is, what it covers and how to use it.
Engage your trustees
- Trustees must take overall responsibility for their fundraising activities, acting reasonably and carefully in all matters related to fundraising. So, it is crucial that they are engaged from an early stage if your organisation is considering a new fundraising strategy.
- Part one of the code has further details on trustee responsibilities. We have also produced a webinar to help charity trustees understand their responsibilities.
Explore the support we offer
- Contact our free advice service to ask questions on the code. This service is open to all.
- Visit our website to see our guidance on specific methods of fundraising. We ensure that our guidance reflects any differing policy approaches between the Senedd and Westminster.
Get further advice
- Seek appropriate advice to support your fundraising. Organisations such as WCVA and Chartered Institute of Fundraising produce guidance and host training courses on fundraising, targeted at differing levels of expertise.
- Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure you’re complying with the law. If in doubt, seek professional advice.
Share your experience
- We have recently embarked on a two-year process of reviewing and updating the code with the launch of a ‘public call for information’. We are keen to hear from a variety of organisations, including smaller charities and community groups on how we can improve the code. If you would like to share your views, please do get in touch.
Register with the Fundraising Regulator
- By registering with us and displaying the Fundraising Badge you are showing your commitment to excellent fundraising standards. Our research also shows that people are more likely to support a charity if they are registered with us, and trusts and foundations will often use our directory when making funding decisions.
- Charities which spend less than £100,000 on their fundraising can register with us for a flat rate of £50 per year. Charities spending £100,000 or more each year on their fundraising pay a voluntary levy which is assessed on a sliding scale.
You can contact me at email@example.com if you would like any further information about the Fundraising Regulator.