Lord Grade on meeting with IoF Chair Amanda Bringans

Lord Grade

Guest Bloggers | 21 August 2017

In July, the Chair of the IoF, Amanda Bringans, met with the Chair of the Fundraising Regulator, Lord Grade, to discuss regulation in the sector. We are glad to post a piece from Lord Grade on his thoughts following the discussion.

As noted by Amanda, we go quite far back. Our careers in television overlapped and it was a pleasure to meet Amanda again and to reminisce about our broadcasting past. However, we did not meet to look back, but instead forward to how the IoF and the Fundraising Regulator can continue to work together.

From the early days following the Cross-Party Review of Fundraising, the IoF has supported the recommendations for a new regulatory regime and engaged positively with us.

The Fundraising Regulator and the IoF share some very important values. We are both committed to ensuring that fundraising is undertaken in a fair, transparent and ethical manner. We both feel a real pride in the public’s generosity and value the fundraisers who help to connect this generosity to civil society.

I am aware that some of my words about the sector have been emphasised by the media, who, of course, have focused on my criticism of the few. Yes, we have been firm and will continue to be firm in calling out bad practice. However, we have also consistently acknowledged the outstanding work undertaken by charities and fundraisers. Sadly, we don’t have the power to write our own headlines but, whenever the opportunity arises, we will speak positively about the charitable sector and its excellent work.

The sector is currently at a difficult crossroads, with the implementation of next May’s General Data Protection Regulation creating a lot of questions about how charities communicate with supporters. It is impressive to see how charities and fundraisers are responding to this challenge."

Most larger and many smaller charities are redefining their relationships with donors so that the changes in regulation are an opportunity, rather than a threat. There are many in business who could learn from this.

This reflects how fundraisers have been committed to operating to an increasingly high standard. It is clear that the public is appreciative when fundraisers interact in a sensitive, considerate manner, understanding the precious trust the public holds in charities and how vital that trust is to ensuring that charities continue to be supported.

As I said when meeting Amanda, we are extremely grateful to all of those, not least the IoF, who have supported the Fundraising Regulator through responding to our consultations, feeding in constructive views and publicly endorsing the new regulatory regime.

Over 1400 charities have now paid or undertaken to pay the voluntary levy, demonstrating a commitment to the public that a charity believes in honest and ethical fundraising. The levy funding enables the Regulator to work effectively with the sector to ensure that fundraising is operating to the high standards expected.

Those charities that haven’t paid are effectively being subsided by those who have, which is hardly a fair situation. All of these charities have the ability to pay the levy. It is unacceptable and unprofessional that 138 charities have still not even responded to our several communications about the levy. If a charity feels that it should not pay the levy, we need to know why.

In the interests of transparency and fairness, we will publish at the end of August a list of payers and non-payers.

Both Amanda and I want to build on the already positive relationship between the IoF and the Fundraising Regulator. At the heart of this relationship is a concern for the donor experience, which is supportive of all fundraisers who are committed to the highest standards. Together, we can help the sector go from strength to strength.   

Lord Michael Grade, Chair of the Fundraising Regulator

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