The Fundraising Regulator has published its annual report analysing complaints received in the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. The report reviewed the Regulator’s casework files as well as complaints reported by a sample of the UK’s largest fundraising charities.
Three main themes for charities were identified in the report:
- Charities presenting fundraising information in an open and honest way,
- Ensuring that people in vulnerable circumstances are protected, and
- Raising issues connected to working with third parties.
These three areas of focus were chosen by the Regulator due to the number of complaints received on these issues and the breadth of fundraising methods that were covered in complaints about these issues. For example, complaints about digital fundraising and advertising increased, and vulnerability was a recurring theme throughout various complaints about a range of fundraising methods and issues. Complaints that third-party fundraisers exerted pressure (and that certain methods of third-party fundraising are more generally disliked) were also significant.
The report also looked at fundraising methods being undertaken by charities. The Regulator noted that while a majority of charities have returned to using in-person fundraising methods, after use of these methods was curtailed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the level of in-person fundraising activity overall still remains below pre-pandemic levels.
Additionally, while the number of complaints overall was lower than reported in the 2019/20 report, certain areas of charity fundraising (including charity bags, digital, and addressed mail) received higher volumes of complaints than previously.
Key takeaways for charities include:
- Charities must carefully consider the content and structure of their fundraising materials to make sure that information presented is open, honest and not likely to mislead;
- Charity fundraisers must be aware of vulnerability issues and be able to proactively spot this and respond appropriately; and
- Third party fundraisers must be property monitored by charities to ensure their compliance with fundraising rules.
For the full report, please see here.