The Codes of Fundraising Practice have been available for many years to any fundraiser or organisation undertaking fundraising. Until three years ago they could be ordered and a simple administrative fee was charged.
More recently they have been placed on the Institute's web site and are available to anyone. Members of the Institute have received copies on an annual basis within their copy of the members' handbook.
This year we are doing things differently. When members start receiving their handbook at the end of the month, the codes will not be hidden in the second half of the book. We are coinciding their publication as a separate standalone book. This will be sent to all members of the Institute as a right but will have a considerably wider distribution as a first step to reach a much wider audience.
The new edition of the codes carries a very different format to the past.
Each code makes it totally clear exactly what the law says, and therefore must be followed in order to be legal. Next it identifies the levels of best practice that are deemed acceptable as a result of the consultation process. These are the standards that equate to membership of the Institute. Last, there is other information and advice that will aid the adoption of best practice.
This first major print run will go way beyond the voluntary sector. Both Police Authorities and Local Government Authorities have a role to play and are part of the wider audience we are trying to reach. In addition we will be working in partnership with the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux to get the message about these standards across to a wider audience.
We will also aim to reach a much wider audience of fundraising organisations.
Every organisation, so convention says, needs to have a unique selling point. We believe that the Institute's is the best practice standards covered by these codes.
In the foreword to the codes, Stephen Lloyd from the Charity Law Association says: "If self-regulation is to succeed and the threat of detailed bureaucratic control of fundraising is to recede, charities need to observe these codes and to be aware of refining their practice to ensure that fundraising commands the fullest possible public support and confidence."
I couldn't have put it better myself.
The Codes of Fundraising Practice will be published on 28 November.
Further details are available from the web site. Lindsay Boswell is chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising.