Fundraising Regulator updates: New guidance on key fundraising values and self-reporting

The Fundraising Regulator (FR) has published new guidance on the four key values underpinning the Code of Fundraising Practice for charity fundraising. The blog accompanying the new guidance notes that the landscape for fundraising has changed considerably over the past year and a half, and while fundraisers continue adapt, adherence to the four values is necessary to protect public confidence.

The guidance provides examples on adherence to each of the values:

a) Open – This means taking all reasonable steps to help people make an informed decision about donating; being clear about use of professional fundraisers; and online fundraisers being clear about their charges to donors.

b) Honest – In respect of fundraising, honesty means, amongst other things: ensuring fundraising materials are not misleading and comply as necessary with the advertising standards; and not taking advantage of a mistake made by a donor.

c) Respectful – This means being respectful when dealing with the public, not causing people to feel unduly pressured, not exploiting the trust or lack of knowledge of vulnerable donors and respecting the wishes of those who do not want to receive communications.

d) Legal – Fundraisers must meet legal requirements, whether that relates to protecting donor data, having the appropriate licences for a collection or making the correct solicitation statements. The guidance notes that the Code is not a legal handbook and fundraisers are responsible for taking the necessary legal advice.

Separately, the FR has announced in a blog that over the next year it plans to develop a process for self-reporting breaches of the Code of Fundraising Practice. It will release accompanying guidance setting out its expectations for self-reporting and the circumstances in which a report should be made.

From the information provided by the FR, it is not currently clear if there will be a formal requirement to self-report when the process is brought in. The update notes that proportionality will inform the development of the process, bearing in mind that charities are already required to report to various other regulators. Therefore charities will only be expected to report to the FR where its involvement can add value.

In the meantime organisations can complete the enquiry form if they want to self-report. Self-reporting is not a requirement, however the FR does encourage people to do so, noting that in most situations they will provide any support or advice needed.