Charity fundraising: a guide to trustee duties

You may be aware that current Charity Commission guidance "Charities and fundraising" (CC20) is being re-written. While the existing guidance does highlight that trustees must ensure their charity complies with the law relating to fundraising and follows best practice, and strongly advises trustees to be aware of the legal, good practice and ethical considerations of their chosen fundraising methods prior to authorising a fundraising appeal, clearly not every board of trustees has been following this advice, in the wake of press headlines which have brought to the public’s attention unacceptable fundraising practice undertaken in the name of charities.

On 3 December the Charity Commission launched a consultation on its new draft guidance: is shorter and harder-hitting than the Commission’s existing guidance, making it absolutely clear that trustees are in their driving seat of their charity’s approach to fundraising, and while this does not mean the regulator expects charity trustees to become expert fundraisers themselves, the buck really does stop with them.

At the Fundraising Summit held on 4 December, the Minister for Civil Society told charity fundraisers that during the summer the charity sector came extremely close to having statutory regulations imposed upon it. But at least for now, a form of self-regulation remains, with a new Fundraising Regulator being established and to be open for business at some point in 2016.

The new draft guidance identifies 6 key principles to help charity trustees fulfil their responsibilities for their charity’s fundraising

  1. plan effectively;

  2. supervise your fundraisers;

  3. protect your charity’s reputation and other assets;

  4. comply with fundraising law;

  5. follow recognised standards;

  6. and be open and accountable.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.