New government proposals will force charities to crackdown on unethical fundraising | DMA

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New government proposals will force charities to crackdown on unethical fundraising

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The government 'fully supports' the proposed Fundraising Preference Service and pushes for the formation of a new self-regulator watchdog for charities to develop a stronger Code of Fundraising Practice

Both the recent Etherington Review into charity fundraising and Institute of Fundraising (IoF) report highlighted problems with the regulation of charities, exposed over the summer of 2015 through a series of stories in the Daily Mail.

The Etherington review concluded that charities needed a more powerful self-regulator to set standards.

The self-regulator would also have the power to refer persistent offenders or serious failures to the Charity Commission or data concerns to the Information Commissioner.

Rob Wilson, minister for civil society, was quick to praise the excellent work many charities do.

"Charitable giving is one of the most decent and generous attributes of a civilised society – and we need to rebuild people’s faith in the big charities. Those who give to charity should know their donation is going to further a worthy cause and this trust will never be abused.

"We are building a new regulatory structure to make sure the right safeguards exist to protect those people at risk of exploitation. This should help the charities to draw a line under previous bad practice and I hope we will see even more people making donations and giving their time to help others in the months and years ahead," he said.

Over the summer, charities have already made a series of committments.

The Fundraising code of practice was strengthened by: a promise by the IoF to increase the size of small print to make sure people can ‘opt out’ easily; preventing charities from selling individual’s data to a third party; and ensuring all fundraising calls from agencies and call centres will be made from an identifiable number.

The new government proposals include:

  • Large charities - those spending more than £100,000 per year on fundraising - could be forced to sign up to a new fundraising watchdog
  • If large charities fail to protect their supporters in any way, the government will have new powers to intervene and regulate charity fundraising
  • The new watchdog will require charities to have the explicit consent of all donors, past and present, before any data can be shared

The new fundraising watchdog will be expected to make large charities stick to a strict code of good practice. The government expects the code to include:

  • Protecting the identity of those who give donations.
  • Setting up of the Fundraising Preference Service to allow consumers inundated with fundraising marketing material from charities to press “reset” and stop receiving such material.

The new measures are designed to increase trust in charities and give consumers confidence in charitable giving.

Personal giving represents close to half of all charitable revenue, £18.8 billion of the sector’s £40.5 billion annual income.

In addition, amendments to the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill, currently in Parliament, will require charity trustees of large charities (valued at more than £1 million) to be more accountable and transparent about their fundraising by reporting details in their annual reports, including whether agencies are used and how the public and vulnerable people are protected from undue pressure and poor practice.

It will also requires all charities to have more detail in contracts with fundraising agencies including how the public and vulnerable people are to be protected from undue pressure and poor practices and how the charity will monitor the fundraising agency.

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