Charity fundraising guidance will need to be revised again, NCVO warns

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations says this will be needed because considerable changes will be made to the Code of Fundraising Practice when it moves to new regulator

Fundraising mail: consultation on guidance has closed
Fundraising mail: consultation on guidance has closed

The Charity Commission will need to revise its guidance on fundraising once the Code of Fundraising Practice has transferred to the new Fundraising Regulator because "considerable changes" will be made to the code, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations has said.

Responding to the commission’s consultation on its 27-page draft CC20 guidance on charity fundraising, which closed on Thursday, the NCVO says it is concerned that the guidance has been revised too soon and will need to be amended again once the code of practice has passed from the Institute of Fundraising to the Fundraising Regulator because major changes are expected to be made.

"It is likely that considerable changes will need to be made to the code as the new regulatory framework develops and important elements (such as the Fundraising Preference Service) are established," the NCVO says in its submission.

The code is due to be handed over to the Fundraising Regulator by the early summer.

The NCVO says the guidance will also need to be revised again to include the commission’s expectations of the new regulator, and to outline in detail the cases and issues that will trigger the use of the commission’s powers as the "backstop" statutory regulator.

The draft guidance does not include a definition of the new regulator or its role, but says this will be included in the final version.

The commission has received submissions from the IoF and the Charity Finance Group that call for the guidance to make it clearer that trustees should balance their management of the reputational risks of fundraising against the positive benefits of generating funds for beneficiaries.

The CFG says it is concerned that in saying charities should develop their fundraising strategies with the perception of donors, supporters and the public in mind, the guidance could lead trustees to avoid fundraising that is necessary in order to achieve their objects. "Charities should consider the impact of perceptions of donors, supporters and the public, but only to the extent that negative perceptions would undermine the furtherance of a charity’s objects," its submission says.

The IoF submission says the tone of the draft guidance is much stronger than the existing guidance and it should not be made to seem "overly hard or burdensome" for trustees to discharge their duties because this could lead to people becoming deterred from joining boards.

"The tone of the guidance may result in trustees being so risk averse that it stymies the innovation and investment in fundraising that is necessary for organisations to raise funds to deliver their services," it says in its submission, saying that trustees should not be given the impression that trusteeship is an insurmountable task.

The IoF criticises the "framing and language" the commission uses in describing the work of fundraisers with commercial partners, saying this does not give a full and balanced depiction of the reality of working with third parties. "The new version portrays a much more negative depiction of commercial partners than the current guidance, implying that only a very small proportion of money actually reaches the end cause," it says. "This could be off-putting to trustees, and harmful to public trust and confidence, and should be reviewed."

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