Less than one year after newspaper headlines accused UK fundraisers of being ‘aggressive’ and hounding a volunteer poppy seller to her death, the sector is primed for the introduction of a new fundraising regulator and additional laws governing fundraising and the protection of older people.
The new Fundraising Regulator is expected to replace the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) in the early Summer and already has a number of key staff and Board members appointed. Plans are also being made for the implementation of a Fundraising Preference Service, designed to give the public a way to ‘reset’ all fundraising communications. However, there remains uncertainty over how such a system will work in practice.
New laws will come in as part of the revised Charities Bill, which is currently awaiting royal assent, and the statutory regulator for England and Wales – the Charity Commission – is to be granted additional powers and resources, working more closely with the new fundraising regulator.
The recently published report by a select committee of members of parliament (MPs), The 2015 Charity Fundraising Controversy, welcomed the changes and highlighted that there was a need for trustees to take greater responsibility for fundraising activities going forward.
Despite remarkable changes over the course of a matter of months, newspaper scandals continue to break and, over the past week, barely a day has gone by without print headlines or broadcast shows examining charity practices, fundraising and beyond.
Ceri Edwards, director of policy and communications, at the Institute of Fundraising, says:
“Charities across the UK continue to face intense scrutiny from the public, the media and Government. To say that this has been a challenging time, would be an understatement, but at the same time the sector has an opportunity to drive real change that will improve public trust and confidence and strengthen fundraising going forward.
“It has never been more important that fundraisers follow the highest standards and that they have the support and engagement of CEOs and Trustees to ensure that fundraising continues to fund vital services for beneficiaries.”
Debate continues over how charity fundraising will be regulated in Scotland; whether the forthcoming Fundraising Regulator’s powers will be extended to cover Scotland, the introduction of a specific regulator for fundraising in Scotland or by allocating greater powers to the statutory charity regulator – OSCR.