There has been a large amount of scrutiny of fundraising practices in the UK over the last number of years and especially the last few months. The Charity Commission of England and Wales has published new draft guidance "which states more clearly than ever that trustees must take responsibility for the fundraising undertaken by their charities."
The Charity Commission issued a press release which provides:
The commission makes clear that trustees have a key role to play in setting their charity’s approach to fundraising and ensuring it reflects their charity’s values. Sir Stuart Etherington’s review into the self-regulation of fundraising identified that charity trustees have too often been absent from discussions on fundraising practice or values.
Trustees have always had to lead in setting their charity’s approach to fundraising, by complying with the law and the charity sector’s own standards, protecting a charity’s reputation and making sure that the charity’s fundraising reflects its values. However recent widespread criticism of charity fundraising and the resulting damage to public trust and confidence in charities has shown that some trustees have not overseen fundraising effectively. The draft guidance signals a new approach to ensure improved oversight by trustees.
The commission supports trustees by providing guidance but will use its powers to protect charities which are at serious risk as a result of failures in fundraising leadership. It expects trustees to ensure that their charity’s fundraising complies with the law and recognised standards, and is carried out in line with their legal trustee duties.
The draft guidance identifies 6 key principles to help trustees fulfil their responsibilities for their charity’s fundraising. These are:
Supervise your fundraisers
Protect the charity’s reputation and other assets
Comply with fundraising law
Follow recognised standards
Be open and accountable
The CRA's Guidance on Fundraising for Canadian registered charities also provides guidance to Canadian charities on acceptable fundraising.
Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?
Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.