Scary, absorbing and thought-provoking

Scary, absorbing and thought-provoking

Guest Bloggers | 8 April 2018

“I am off to a conference on compliance,” I said to a friend, “That sounds like a barrel of laughs,” came the reply, summing up a common misconception of the subject. Well, I am happy to say the first IoF Compliance Conference certainly proved my friend wrong. There were quite a few laughs, and I returned to Battersea with new ideas on cyber security, lotteries and more!


In the opening session, Guy Parker of the ASA talked about how charity ads can polarise opinion. It was a reminder to us all that we must be responsible and avoid making people feel helpless to make a difference to our causes. Charity ads come into homes uninvited as opposed a choice made to watch the news or a certain TV programme.

Quite a thought-provoking and somewhat scary talk was given on cyber security. The knowledge that 85,000,000 attempted hacks take place in the UK every day made the whole room very uneasy, but Neil Sinclair’s tips for staying digitally safe were reassuring – and I’ve already started making improvements on my professional cyber security.

Treating people fairly is something that we fundraisers have embedded in our DNA.  Jo-Ann and Claire from GOSH talked us through their timeline of writing a policy to document their processes with the key objective of increasing the confidence for their day to day staff.  I really enjoyed learning more about their journey.

In light of recent press articles such as the case of The President’s Club furore, Sarah Atkinson from the Charities Commission spoke in her session about when to say no –  not always an easy thing to do. The overriding message was that what is right for some charities may not necessarily be right for yours and a risk-based approach should be adopted.

Compliance priorities for the year ahead were presented by Gerald Oppenheim and Stephen Service from the Fundraising Regulator. They discussed recent and forthcoming changes to the code and the ‘plain English’ review of Code rules.The core message was around the perennial hot topic of contact consent – we must control our communications.

Successful partnerships for sustainable fundraising was an engaging Q&A session with the IoF’s Alex Xavier asking the panel a set of questions. Tracey Lumsden of CRUK highlighted the importance of clarify who is doing what in a partnership. Setting out expectations early on in helps to understand each other’s values and uphold standards. Kay Fellows of Home Fundraising added that there needs to be a framework of continued communications between each other and not just a box ticking exercise for an end of campaign report.  

Jo Cartwright and Cliff Young from the Gambling Commission spoke about how the Society lottery sector is growing and becoming increasingly important to fundraising – up 19% during 2016-17 raising a healthy £586,000,000 and the trend is set to continue in 2017-18. Interestingly, 20% of people give their draw money back indicating that the prize is not as important as the cause. I think the content of this session will help me with our new lottery campaigns at Battersea.

I found the whole day absorbing. I was particularly encouraged by the comparison made in the GDPR session that perfect compliance is like a unicorn – it exists more in the imagination than in reality – but it is never too late to be heading in that direction and important to show you’re on the right path.


Leila McCallum, Training & Compliance Officer at Battersea


Take a look at our full list of conferences here


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