The Institute of Fundraising has launched a consultation on its plans for a new accreditation programme for agencies and charities that carry out public fundraising.
The consultation, which was launched today, will close at the end of January, and the membership body aims to launch the programme by the start of the new financial year.
The IoF said it expected all fundraising organisations that aspired to high professional standards to support and join the programme, although a spokeswoman said it would still be possible for organisations to operate outside the system.
Accredited organisations will be required to ensure their policies on issues such as data protection, protecting vulnerable people and complaints handling are accurate and up to date and that they have high-quality training processes in place to ensure fundraising is carried out to a high standard.
They will also have to agree to high levels of monitoring and oversight, the IoF said.
The programme is designed to "work alongside the responsibility of charities to conduct their own due diligence", the IoF said.
It said it believed this would be especially beneficial for smaller charities, which tend to have fewer resources to do their own due diligence.
Asked what benefits accredited organisations would receive above those that did not take part in the programme, the IoF spokeswoman said: "Doing even more to strengthen and promote fundraising standards is in everyone’s interests."
Peter Hills-Jones, director of compliance at the IoF, said: "This accreditation programme will be the next step to drive up fundraising standards even further, and help to maintain public confidence and support for the vital causes our members work on."
Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said he welcomed the announcement as a sign that the IoF’s members were taking ownership of their own "compliance journey".
Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications at the Charity Commission, said: "A robust accreditation system for fundraising organisations could help to ensure that fundraising meets the standards expected.
"This is positive initiative, and we would encourage charities to take part and respond."
Last month, the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator issued a statement warning charities about their arrangements with fundraising agencies and Lord Grade, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said at a conference that several of the regulator’s forthcoming investigations were likely to heighten the argument in favour of a licensing system for agencies.