Don't meekly accept regulation that hinders fundraising, Bubb warns charities

The leader of Acevo calls on charities minister Rob Wilson and Charity Commission chair William Shawcross to do more to champion the sector

Sir Stephen Bubb
Sir Stephen Bubb

Charities should not "meekly accept" a new system of fundraising regulation that stops them from raising money for their own survival, according to Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the charity leaders body Acevo.

He said in a statement today that organisations should be allowed to gather funds "from all sources" and called on Rob Wilson, the Minister for Civil Society, and William Shawcross, chair of the Charity Commission, to do more to champion the charity sector and fundraising in particular.

He said Wilson and Shawcross should "stiffen their sinews" in supporting charities of all stripes and "neither the sector nor its champions should meekly accept a fundraising regime which unreasonably restricts any charity’s ability to undertake the activity central to its survival".

Bubb said there had been too much "doom and gloom" about charities being in the "last chance saloon", with self-regulation being under "mortal threat".

He said: "It is time for us all to get off our knees and stand up for the interests of all charities."

He acknowledged that Lord Grade, the Conservative peer appointed last month as interim chair of the new Fundraising Regulator, said at the fundraising summit hosted last week by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations that there would be "no rowing back" on the recommendations made in the Etherington review, which have been accepted in full by the government.

But Bubb said the sector should not forget that less fundraising could mean less giving, so the sector’s ability to fundraise should not be emasculated.

In an email to the umbrella body’s 1,500 members, sent yesterday, Bubb asked for views on the proposed regulatory changes and said that comments from members would feed in to a document Acevo is preparing to send to Grade in early 2016.

He also invited members, who are mostly charity chief executives, to a private meeting on 18 January to discuss the proposals.

"I am particularly worried that if we get the proposed Fundraising Preference Service wrong, this could cause serious harm," reads the email. "While we cannot ‘row back’ on the Etherington review, we must ensure new arrangements do not do damage."

Acevo plans to communicate any feedback about the FPS to George Kidd, chair of the Direct Marketing Commission, who was appointed last week to lead the implementation of the service.

A spokesman for Acevo confirmed the body was not suggesting that charities lobby for proposals made in the Etherington review to be changed but they should resist any unreasonable proposals that went beyond what the review recommended. He did not have any examples of what these might be.

"It’s more an issue of tone and confidence," he said. "The fact that they won’t row back on the Etherington review doesn’t mean we should hand over the keys completely. We don’t want to give the new regulator carte blanche, so let’s not be submissive."

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