The year in fundraising: 2012

Third Sector senior reporter Jenna Pudelek reviews the main developments of the past twelve months

Street fundraising
Street fundraising

Lord Hodgson’s recommendations in his review of the Charities Act 2006 about the need to address the "confused self-regulatory landscape" of fundraising have been one of the year’s biggest fundraising stories.

The Institute of Fundraising, the Fundraising Standards Board and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association responded quickly to Hodgson’s proposals, published in July, by agreeing a clearer division of their responsibilities less than two months later. 

Hodgson’s proposal to abolish national exemption orders, which are granted to charities that carry out a large number of doorstep collections, was greeted with alarm by charities including the British Heart Foundation. It warned the move could cost the sector millions.

But in his interim response to Hodgson’s review, Nick Hurd, the Minister for Civil Society, rejected the proposal to abolish them.

Hurd also said the fundraising regulatory bodies had made a good start clarifying their roles.

There has also been much sector debate about face-to-face street fundraising, which has continued to attract criticism from politicians, the public, the mainstream media and, most recently, William Shawcross, the new chair of the Charity Commission.

In June, the method was thrust into the media spotlight after an undercover investigation by The Sunday Telegraph exposed breaches of fundraising regulations by the agency Tag Campaigns on a campaign it was carrying out for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

In response to the newspaper’s findings, the IoF brought together fundraising directors from major UK charities that use the technique for a summit in July about the future of street fundraising

An investigation by the FRSB, published this month, found "significant failures" at Tag which led to several breaches of the fundraising code, and resulted in Marie Curie being referred to the Charity Commission to investigate its finding that fundraisers had broken charity law around solicitation statements.

The PFRA appointed a new chief executive, Sally de la Bedoyere, to replace Mick Aldridge, who stepped down last September.

The association has since been reaffirming its role as face-to-face regulator and building a closer relationship with local government.

November saw the long-awaited launch of the IoF’s single Code of Fundraising Practice, condensing the 28 old codes into one, which features web links to extra guidance.

The year also saw Camelot lose its High Court battle for a judicial review into the Health Lottery. The National Lottery operator also withdrew its application for leave to appeal and instead called on the government to close a "loophole" in the Gambling Act that could see similar society lotteries eat away at Camelot’s ticket sales.

The year drew to a close with some worrying research by the Charities Aid Foundation and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations in November, which found charitable donations were down 20 per cent, or £2.3bn, in real terms compared to 2011.

The findings were widely questioned with academics and sector bodies, including the IoF, saying their evidence from charities pointed to giving remaining flat or, more optimistically, being slight up on last year.

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