Charity Commission issues advice for older donors

02 Sep 2019 News

The Charity Commission is urging older donors to make important checks before giving their money to charities, as part of a series of campaigns.

It says that older donors are at risk of charitable giving scams and advises people to report collections or appeals to the police if they think they are not legitimate.

The message is part of a series of campaigns raising awareness of giving safely, with the Commission targeting a range of communities across England and Wales.

The advice ensures donors can give safely to genuine registered charities.

Protecting generous donors from crime

Sarah Atkinson, director of policy, planning and communications at the Commission, said: “Donating to charity is a longstanding and important tradition in this country, and I value the generosity of people who have worked hard all their lives wanting to give back.  

“It is vital that this generosity does not lead to people becoming victims of crime.

“The scams that we sometimes unfortunately see take advantage of people’s charitable spirit, and can seriously dent their trust in charity.

“Making simple checks before you hand over your money or your details is an important way to ensure you are giving with your head as well as your heart. 

“I want to encourage everyone to follow our advice, so that they feel empowered and more confident at spotting and avoiding scams.”

Over 65s are less likely to make checks

Research from the Commission in 2017 showed that over half of 18 to 24 year olds usually carry out checks on a charity before donating, compared to under one third of 65 to 74 year olds.

Data from HM Revenue and Customs says this group are also among the most generous, with 374,000 people over the age of 65 making donations in the tax year 2017 to 2018.

However, one in 12 respondents to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, who were over 65 years of age, reported being the victim of fraud in the last year, the equivalent of 800,000 people.

The Commission’s key tips for giving safely. Always: 

  • Check the charity’s name and registration number at www.gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered. Ask the collector for more information if in doubt.
  • Ask the collector for more information if in doubt.
  • Never feel under pressure by a fundraiser into making a donation immediately.
  • Exercise the same caution every time you’re looking to support or donate to a charity. 
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