New fundraising guidance makes trustees fearful, convention hears

James Newell, a director at Kingston Smith, tells the Institute of Fundraising gathering that CC20 is leading some trustees to leave the role


Some trustees are abandoning their positions because they fear they could end up in jail for breaching the new CC20 fundraising guidelines issued by the Charity Commission, a director at the accountancy firm Kingston Smith has said.

Speaking during a session called Finance for Fundraisers at the Institute of Fundraising Convention in London yesterday, James Newell, director of Kingston Smith’s fundraising and management division, said the firm had encountered numerous trustees who no longer had the appetite to be in their roles because they viewed the new guidelines as too much of a burden.

He told Third Sector many trustees believed that Alan Yentob, the BBC executive and former chair of the collapsed charity Kids Company, would be in prison if CC20 had existed a year ago.

Some were leaving their positions because they were unwilling to take the risk of this happening to them, he said.

The new guidelines, which were released last month, require trustees to have direct involvement in fundraising strategy and to know why the money their charity is seeking is required.

During the session, Newell said: "Trustees are going to become concerned about this and one of the predictions is that this is going to result in a drop-off in trustees – they’re going to see the role as too arduous, too strenuous and they are not going to be interested."

He added: "All trustees are going to see is responsibility. They will panic, put pressure on fundraising teams and both parties will become unhappy."

But he said that the new rules represented an opportunity for fundraisers.

"Now is a really good time to make sure you are heard in board meetings," he said. "Make sure there is a fundraising slot. If you don’t feel fundraising is valued enough in your organisation, make sure you use CC20 as your route to market so you can get your voice heard."

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