The Fundraising Regulator has published new guidance on fundraising content in charity annual reports after its review finds that only 40% of charities are compliant. Jess Neville has commented on the key takeaways.

The Fundraising Regulator has published new guidance (Jan 2020) aimed to help charities comply with the fundraising reporting requirements set out in the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 (the “Act”).

These requirements apply to charities over the audit threshold (currently £1 million gross income) and were implemented in the aftermath of media focus on poor fundraising practices and aim to enforce responsible and accountable fundraising and encourage charities to demonstrate their commitment to protecting donors and the public from bad fundraising practices. Broadly they include: a statement about the charity’s fundraising approach, if the charity has signed up for any voluntary standards, the number of complaints that the charity has received about its fundraising activities and what the charity has done to protect vulnerable people.

The key takeaways from this new guidance are:

  • The Fundraising Regulator has highlighted the Charity Commission’s guidance on fundraising which makes clear that the Commission expects charities to explain their fundraising clearly and openly and comply with their accounting and reporting obligations. The Fundraising Regulator has commented that any non-compliance by a charity will be a “matter of interest” to the Commission.  
  • Although these reporting requirements only apply to charities whose accounts must be audited, the Fundraising Regulator has suggested that smaller charities may wish to voluntarily comply with these requirements to demonstrate best fundraising practice.
  • There is example draft annual report wording which all charities may find useful to look at.

This new guidance comes after the Fundraising Regulator carried out a review of compliance with the Act after the first year of implementation by the annual reports of 106 charities who met the criteria for complying with these requirements and found that only 40% of the reports had included adequate fundraising content. If you have any questions about the new guidance or what your charity must say about fundraising in its annual report, please speak to your usual contact at Bates Wells or Jess Neville.  When it comes to finalising your annual report, we can review the fundraising content for compliance with the Act and this new guidance.