How charity trustees can help to restore public trust and confidence in the sector
Following the events of summer 2015, the role of charity trustees has been continually under the spotlight. One of the main lessons learnt over these past 18 months is the important responsibility trustees have over their charity’s fundraising strategy.
Considering this, engaging with the recently re-structured system of fundraising regulation should be a top priority for all UK charity trustees. As such, they should seriously be considering registering with the new independent self-regulator, the Fundraising Regulator. By registering, charities and fundraising organisations will be able to demonstrate their commitment to best practice in fundraising, as well as their support for this new system of self-regulation.
Maintaining a level of awareness and engagement with the new regulator will allow trustees to stay updated on new developments such as the new Fundraising Preference Service and consultations on the Code of Fundraising Practice. Such proactive compliance will benefit their particular charity, its beneficiaries and donors.
Being switched on to changes within the third sector has become even more vital for trustees considering the legislative requirements being imposed by the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016. Sections 13 and 14 of that Act will require charities from 1st November 2016 to ensure that all future Annual Reports presented to the Charity Commission include information on fundraising standards such as arrangements with commercial participators and measures in place to protect the public against unreasonable fundraiser behaviour.
Compliance with these soon-to-be-implemented provisions brings into focus a wider need for compliance as a responsibility to be upheld by charity trustees; ensuring that their charity operates within the bounds of both statutory and voluntary regulations including those contained in the Code of Fundraising Practice, which is now part of the new Fundraising Regulator’s remit.
The impetus now being placed on trustees with regard to their fundraising responsibilities has led prominent organisations across the sector to issue publications aimed at helping them fulfil their duties. These include the Charity Commission’s CC20 – published in June 2016 – and guidance for Trustees from the Institute of Fundraising – to be launched on 10th October.
These publications contain information that will give trustees greater confidence in effectively fulfilling their oversight role in respect of their charity’s fundraising practices. In doing so, they will contribute to helping to restore public trust and confidence in the sector.
Suzanne McCarthy, Chair of Fundraising Regulator’s Standards Committee, FR Board Member
Download the practical handbook, ‘Trustees and Fundraising: Practical Handbook to Fundraising Governance’, developed in partnership with NCVO, CFG and ACEVO and access a range of resources