Majority of MPs and the public support tighter fundraising regulation, study shows

Research by nfpSynergy found that Conservative MPs were the group most in favour of stricter rules

Two-thirds of MPs and three-quarters of the public think that charity fundraising should be regulated more tightly, according to new research.

A poll of 150 MPs by sector consultancy nfpSynergy found that 66 per cent agreed with the statement "I think we need tighter regulation of charity fundraising".

Charity Parliamentary Monitor, carried out in October, also found that forty-nine per cent of MPs thought fundraising regulation should be increased, even if this meant charities raised less money, with the proportion rising to 55 per cent among Conservative MPs.

Forty-three per cent of MPs of all parties said they found it harder to trust charities in the wake of the recent negative media coverage. Of Conservative repondents, only 7 per cent said they thought charities had done a good job of defending and explaining their fundraising practices in the light of last summer’s stories, compared with almost half of Labour MPs.

Forty-one per cent of Tory MPs said they were less likely to support charity campaigns in parliament as a result of the coverage, compared with 7 per cent of Labour MPs.

Of SNP MPs who responded, 73 per cent agreed that parliament should be doing more to scrutinise charities, compared with 69 per cent of Tory MPs and 50 per cent of Labour MPs.

Charity Awareness Monitor, another nfpSynergy survey, shows that these findings mirror the sentiment of the general public. Its poll of 1,000 people, also carried out in October, found that 67 per cent thought that tighter regulation was needed; 71 per cent believed this, even if it meant that charities raised less money.

Tim Harrison, director of tracking research at nfpSynergy, said in a statement: "It’s worrying to see that recent media coverage of fundraising scandals has had such a negative impact on how MPs see charities.

"Public trust in charities has fallen this year, and sadly we have only ourselves to blame. It’s now clear that MPs from all parties are keen to respond to this by backing a crackdown on invasive fundraising practices."

Harrison said that charities intending to campaign in parliament needed to demonstrate they were transparent, responsible and well-run in order to win back the trust of MPs. Charity fundraising teams ought to accept that new regulation was on its way, he said, and prepare to phase out any "particularly objectionable" practices.

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