The increase in demand for transparency and accountability in fundraising activities could lead to the introduction of a code of practice and a council to administer it.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), has proposed the code as a way to reassure the public of the ethical practices of the voluntary sector in anticipation of the Government's Performance and Innovation Unit (PIU) review of charity law expected later this summer. Amid fears of government intervention, Etherington warned in a speech to fundraisers that they should "act quickly to improve management practices and fully develop a self-regulatory framework".
"It is my belief that we in the sector can and should manage these issues ourselves: government regulation is not necessary and would be inappropriate.
I strongly suspect that the PIU is not minded to make recommendations to regulate. But I believe that it will fire a shot across our bows,
He has suggested a council to be structured along similar lines to the Advertising Standards Authority, with the codes set by the Institute of Fundraising. The chair and a majority of the members would be drawn from outside the charity world.
Initiatives already in place or under way, which are designed to protect public trust and confidence in the sector, include the Donors Rights Charter and the Giving with Confidence initiative.