Record high number of charities paying fundraising levy, regulator reports

The Fundraising Regulator says 98 per cent of eligible charities stumped up the fee, the highest in the organisation's five-year history

Ninety-eight per cent of the eligible charities paid the Fundraising Regulator’s levy last year – the highest repayment rate in the watchdog’s five-year history.

The regulator’s annual accounts, published yesterday, show that in the year to 31 August 2021, 1,974 of the 2,072 eligible organisations paid the fee, contributing a total of almost £2.2m to the regulator’s funding.

Charities that spend £100,000 or more a year on fundraising activities are encouraged to pay a voluntary levy, ranging from £150 to £15,000 a year, to fund the regulator. In 2019/20, 97 per cent of 1,877 eligible charities paid the fee.

The regulator’s total income for the year was £2.4m, with the rest of the money coming from registration fees paid by charities and commercial fundraising organisations.

It also made gains of £36,500 from its investments and spent a total of £2m throughout the year.

A total of 4,975 organisations were registered with the regulator in 2020/21, including 1,974 levy payers and 159 commercial organisations.

The total also includes 2,842 smaller charities – a 26 per cent increase on the previous year.

The regulator also reported an increase in the number of people using its Fundraising Preference Service, which enables members of the public to block fundraising communications from named charities.

In 2020/21, 2,275 people used the service to suppress contact from 752 charities – up from 1,971 people across 725 organisations in the previous year.

In the report, the regulator said the increased use of the service was likely the result of its marketing activity, which it paused in the early stages of the pandemic but ramped up again from summer 2020.

Lord Toby Harris, chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “After another uncertain year which brought continued challenges for the charitable fundraising sector, I commend the hard work of charities and fundraisers, many of whom adapted their fundraising activity to fundraise safely and responsibly.

“The sector has shown its continued commitment to self-regulation, demonstrated by an increase in registrations with us, and the highest rate of payment yet of the fundraising levy.

“We look forward to continued collaboration with the sector as we enter our new reporting year.”

The regulator said in a statement that it plans to develop a new five-year strategic plan in the coming year, and would be engaging with the sector in the coming months.

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