Fundraising News: Self-regulation gets state funds

Joe Gill

The Home Office has given £69,000 in seed funding for the new self-regulatory fundraising system - but said that member organisations will have to pay for it in the long-term.

The initial Home Office funding covers research, marketing and development of the system, which should begin in April 2005.

Sector representatives hope that further short-term financing will come from Changeup, the £80m government fund to build voluntary sector infrastructure.

But fundraising organisations are likely to have to stump up fees after that.

"The long-term aim is that ultimately, self-regulation will be self-financing," said a Home Office spokesman.

The Government strategy unit proposed a self-regulatory system to uphold the reputation of fundraisers in 2002. In his model proposed in January, Rodney Buse put the first two years running costs as high as £800,000.

Charities Aid Foundation executive director Simon Hebditch, who chairs the steering group on self-regulation, thinks the system will cost less as it could be accommodated within an existing sector organisation, rather than a new body. He added that membership fees would be graduated according to organisations' ability to pay.

A charter mark will be introduced for members to show they are abiding by codes of conduct on fundraising.

Professional fundraisers, members of the public, lawyers and accountants, the Institute of Fundraising and the PFRA will sit on an independent council to supervise the scheme.

An independent reviewer, with the power to instigate fines, will examine complaints from the public. Serious or persistent offenders could lose their membership.

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