MEMBER VIEWPOINT: Review offers chance to choose regulatory body for fundraising

AMANDA SHEPARD, a senior consultant at Kingston Smith

Fundraisers generally seem to be giving the Government's Strategy Unit report their broad approval, with a few caveats, of course. In the face of increasing public concern around fundraising, few would dispute the need for transparency and the provision of higher quality fundraising information to donors.

Implementation and enforcement are where it gets interesting. The big questions of who is best placed to carry out the regulation role and exactly what powers this body might have, are still undecided. How, practically, will any self-regulation scheme work across the whole sector and how best can lessons and models from the commercial and public sectors be successfully adapted for a sector as diverse as ours?

To launch any self-regulation membership scheme and, crucially, gain wide public recognition and confidence, the top 500 charities will need to be on board. Ultimately though, the key to success will be easily accessible membership that attracts all organisations, coupled with consistent and visible enforcement of regulations.

The end product may not be a purely self-regulating body, but this is a golden opportunity to put some public funds into supporting the vital work that the Institute of Fundraising has long carried out. Twenty codes of conduct, the Donors' Charter and a change of position and name to reflect the current need all make the Institute a unique influence.

There are less than three months of the consultation period to go. The challenge to all fundraisers and fundraising organisations is to give this review your serious attention and channel your feedback via the Institute.

Make the Institute work for you and the future not just of fundraising but of the sector itself.

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