Honesty in fundraising

There are many principles to bear in mind when fundraising, but by far the most important is that of honesty. No matter who you are or what you are fundraising for, you need to be as upfront and honest with donors as possible. The more transparent the sector is with the public, the more trust and confidence the public will have in the sector.

Remember that money has to be used as intended by donors. If you raise money for a specific purpose, you have to use the money for this purpose. It is often helpful to include a secondary purpose when asking for money to allow more flexibility in spending the money. For example, if you are raising money to buy a certain piece of equipment you could say that any money which cannot be spent on that piece of equipment will be donated to charity x. This can be particularly useful if you raise too much or too little money, or if circumstances change.


Code of Fundraising Practice and Guidance

The Institute has created the Accountability and Transparency guidance, which provides guidance on how to interact with potential donors and the type of information that should be shared.


The Code of Fundraising Practice and guidance highlight the law and best practice for a range of fundraising techniques. The Acceptance or Refusal of Donations guidance may be particularly relevant in this area. This guidance highlights circumstances where you may or may not wish to accept donations and can help you communicate your reasoning with donors.



Fraud and Giving with Confidence

One reason that honesty in fundraising is so important is because fundraising organisations depend on public trust and confidence if they are to fundraise from the public. Unfortunately, the fundraising sector does occasionally fall victim to fraud and scams.  

The below resources were put together in conjunction with key sector bodies and led by the Fraud Advisory Panel. The various documents are designed to be used by fundraisers, charity officers and volunteers when promoting giving confidence among supporters. As such we welcome their dissemination as far and wide as possible


If you suspect fraud has been committed by a fundraiser you should report it. Who you could report it to depends on the circumstances, however, here are some suggestions of where you might report your suspicions.
  • The local Neighbourhood Watch
  • The local council
  • The local Trading Standards
  • The local police


If the fundraising is based online you could report your suspicions directly to the website hosting the activity and also Action Fraud. Action Fraud provide a central point of contact for information about fraud and financially motivated internet crime.

The Principles of Good Impact Reporting

Good impact reporting is a clear demonstration of accountability and will form a strong foundation for any fundraising activity. It also allows you to reiterate your brand against the work that you do, the people you support and and the values you hold.   


Further Information

The ImpACT Coalition was set up to promote honesty and transparency within the sector and to promote understanding of how charities work and how they benefit society.