JustGiving, probate fees, Sackler Trust and other fundraising news

JustGiving, probate fees, Sackler Trust and other fundraising news

Felicity Spencer-Smith | 3 April 2019

After the last month of Brexit votes, you’d be forgiven for missing out on the latest news from the fundraising sector. This month we discuss the latest on probate fees, changes to JustGiving fees, and Sackler funding – and a few other things you might have missed, says Felicity Spencer-Smith.

Government responds to our letter on probate fees

We received a response from the Ministry of Justice to the joint sector letter sent last month. Together with Remember a Charity, the Institute of Legacy Management (ILM) and NCVO, we warned that proposed changes to probate fees (the cost of administrating a deceased person’s estate or will) would reduce legacy income available for charities when estates are left to charities due to increased processing costs.

Lucy Frazer, parliamentary under-secretary of state for justice, said its planned changes would have no “substantial impact” on charities. We disagree – the real impact will be felt by charity services that rely on legacy income. For instance, Cancer Research UK calculated that these changes will reduce their income by £600k per annum. Enough to pay for two years of trials for a new targeted Prostate Cancer drug.

So what’s next? The order needs final approval in the House of Commons. This means that MPs will now have the chance to express their views, and we hope that they will agree with our stance.

Read the letter and Director of Remember A Charity Rob Cope’s response here.

Fundraising complaints

The Fundraising Regulator released their latest Complaints Report that said that in a total of 78 complaints investigated between 1 April 2017 and 31 August 2018, 63 were upheld.

The report makes it clear that the vast majority of complaints that go to the Regulator are dealt with by the charities themselves. It is therefore not surprising that the majority of complaints that are investigated by the Fundraising Regulator are found to breach the Code, as these are ones that charities have not been able to solve and have been escalated.

Read the report here

London marathon

Organisers of the London Marathon have announced that they will review their system for allocating places to charities.

This is following criticism from smaller organisations who found it the system for securing places did not give enough opportunity for newcomer charities to the London Marathon.

The current system works on the system of “bonds” to secure places for charity runners – but they can be renewed every year with no cut off. This means that there is a limit to new spaces available each year.

JustGiving ends platform fees for UK charities

This month JustGiving announced that it has dropped its 5% platform fee for donations to UK charities. Instead of the fee, they will ask donors for a voluntary contribution to support their running costs and help them invest in innovation. The announcement follows changes made in October 2018, which saw JustGiving remove platform fees for all crowdfunding, disasters and major incidents.

Payments processed through JustGiving will still be subject to standard card processing fees of 1.9% plus 20p.

Sackler suspends UK donations

The Sackler Trust announced that it is to halt all new giving in the UK following the recent claims that the family’s fortune is linked to the opioid crisis in the US. The negative publicity accusing it of links to the manufacturer of painkiller OxyContin has seen a number of arts institutions placed under pressure to return the funds.

The National Portrait Gallery and the Tate were among those that announced they would reject donations as a result.

Donation acceptance of refusal is fundamentally important to a charity’s reputation – but we know that these aren’t always easy decisions. If you would like more information on how your organisation can navigate these decision, please see our free guide

Felicity Spencer-Smith, External Affairs Officer, Institute of Fundraising


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