Twenty-two charities still undecided on funding start-up of Fundraising Regulator

The 50 top charities by fundraising have been asked to pay £15,000, and 28 have sent 'positive responses', according to the new regulator's chair, Stephen Dunmore

Direct mail, part of Fundraising Regulator's remit
Direct mail, part of Fundraising Regulator's remit

The Dogs Trust and the Children’s Society are among the charities still undecided about whether to fund the start-up costs of the new Fundraising Regulator.

Stephen Dunmore, interim chief executive of the regulator, confirmed to Third Sector last week that "positive responses" had been received from 28 of the 50 largest fundraising charities, which were asked to contribute £15,000 towards the new body’s start-up costs.

The charities in question had replied to a letter sent by the Institute of Fundraising and the Public Fundraising Association last November, asking them to make contributions.

But the remaining 22 charities are understood to have either declined to provide the funding or not indicated what they plan to do.

The Dogs Trust, the Children’s Society and the Alzheimer’s Society are still considering whether to make the payment. The RNIB disclosed last week that it was refusing to pay the contribution at this time because it could not be sure it would be a good use of donors’ money and wanted more information before it could consider it.

Joe Jenkins, director of fundraising and supporter engagement at the Children’s Society, said the charity was surprised the new regulator was in effect proposing to pay trustees using charitable donations and this expense should be "thoroughly investigated and questioned".

He was referring to the £300 board members of the regulator will receive for each day they work. In an interview with Third Sector last week, Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the RNIB, said she objected to any money paid by charities towards start-up costs going to such overheads.

Jenkins said the Children’s Society was awaiting information from the regulator about how charities’ contributions would be spent and would make a final decision once it had this.

"We are supportive of a new Fundraising Regulator, but our trustees are concerned that our supporters’ valuable donations are spent wisely and contribute towards helping the most vulnerable young people in society," he said.

Charlotte Speedy, director of communications at the Dogs Trust, said the charity was still considering its decision because it was not a cost that had been budgeted for. "We are currently discussing it with our trustees and have requested a more detailed breakdown from the Fundraising Regulator of how the money will be spent," she said.

The Alzheimer’s Society is also understood to be waiting to see a more detailed plan from the regulator, but a spokesman for the charity declined to comment on the matter.

Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, the British Red Cross, the NSPCC, the RSPCA, Marie Curie, Macmillan Cancer Support, OxfamSave the Children and Guide Dogs all said they would be funding the start-up costs, although the NSPCC said it was also concerned that the regulator’s board members would be remunerated.

"All NSPCC trustees are volunteers who will no doubt question why similar arrangements cannot be made with the regulator," a spokesman for the charity said.

Oxfam, Guide Dogs and the BHF said they had requested more details from the regulator about how their money would be spent.

Dunmore, who followed up the letter from the IoF and the PFRA with one of his own on 10 February that requested a "positive commitment" from each charity within two or three weeks, declined to say whether he had received any additional positive or negative responses since his letter was sent.

He said he wanted to wait until all the responses were received before sharing such figures because he did not want the charities that had not yet responded to feel like they were being pressurised.

According to Dunmore’s letter, the £15,000 contributions will be used to fund the regulator’s initial costs, including staff and accommodation, capital expenditure, survey and data-collection work, and expenditure related to its board and committees.

A spokesman for the IoF and the PFRA declined to share with Third Sector a copy of its letter to the charities.

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