Draft guidance seeks to clarify rules for professional fundraisers

The Cabinet Office has published draft guidance on new rules that will require agency fundraisers who are paid to raise money on behalf of charities to tell supporters how much of their donations goes to charity and how much goes towards paying fundraisers' wages.

The rules, which were introduced by the Charities Act 2006, will affect street, telephone and door-to-door collectors. Shops that donate a proportion of a sale price on particular items must also state exactly how much goes to charity. They will come into force on 1 April.

The guidance, which is intended to help professional fundraising agency staff and retailers who raise money for charity through sales to comply with the rules, suggests example scripts for specific situations.

It suggests that if an individual professional fundraiser is paid an hourly rate, he or she should tell potential donors: “I am a professional fundraiser working on behalf of charity X. I am being paid an hourly rate of £X per hour. In all, I expect to be paid approximately £X for carrying out this programme of conversations with supporters like yourself throughout the UK across the whole of the year.”

Phil Hope, Minister for the Third Sector, said: “People have a right to know how much of what they give will actually go to charity. Professional fundraising is a legitimate and very effective way to raise money for charities. This will ensure that they can operate with full transparency, which will help maintain high levels of public trust in charities.

“This guidance aims to help professional fundraisers know what the law requires of them, and the Government is keen to have the views of charities on today’s draft version.”

Mick Aldridge, chief executive of Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, said: “This helpful guidance from the Office of the Third Sector takes on board the operational concerns of the fundraising community in a positive and constructive way. This will be an enormous benefit for charities and their agents seeking to understand and fulfil their legal obligations to ensure members of the public are properly informed when making their donating choices.”

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