Fundraising Regulator considers addressing bad subcontracting practice in code update

05 Oct 2023 News

The Fundraising Regulator is considering strengthening its Code of Fundraising Practice after a rise in media reports of bad fundraising practices by third parties.

In a blog published this week, the regulator expressed concern over “mounting evidence” that some companies are using fundraisers who are insufficiently trained and motivated by commission-based sales. 

These tactics “threaten to undermine public trust and confidence in the sector” and could already be in breach of the regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice, wrote Paul Winyard, head of policy at the regulator.

However, he said the regulator will produce “further guidance for the sector on managing subcontracting relationships” and will consider “whether the standards in the code need to be updated and possibly strengthened”.

It comes after a Wales Online investigation uncovered that external fundraisers were pressuring people to make donations to charities. 

Two charities that were using the contractors in question, Children’s Villages UK and National Deaf Children’s Society, have opened investigations as a result. 

Charities responsible for breaches by fundraising partners

Charities must remember that code breaches by one of their fundraising partners and their subcontractors will be considered a code breach by the charity itself, Winyard warned. 

Therefore, trustees should ensure all fundraisers and agencies working on the charity’s behalf are trained in the code, he said. 

Winyard said relationships between charities and their fundraising partners should be routinely monitored. 

He suggested charities brush up on section 7.3 of the code, which provides guidelines on how to monitor relationships effectively. 

Charities should avoid subcontracting arrangements altogether if they are not confident they can be monitored effectively, he said.

He urged charities to alert them to any concerns they might have in their own organisation or supply-chains via its self-reporting pathway.

The Fundraising Regulator is currently inviting charities to have their say on a revised Code of Fundraising Practice until 1 December, and aims to publish a new code in early 2025. 

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