The Institute of Fundraising has this afternoon launched the long-awaited revised Code of Fundraising Practice, which has rolled nearly 30 codes of practice into one single document.
Launching the new code, which runs for a little over 80 pages, today at an event in Westminster, the Institute declared the new code a step forward in self-regulation in fundraising. The new code was a year in consultation and replaces a two decades long tradition of having separate codes for different kinds of fundraising, which at the last tally resulted in 28 different codes of fundraising practice.
Stephen Pidgeon, chair of the Institute’s Standards Committee, characterised the previous codes as "long and repetitive, and in some cases contradictory”. The more than 400 pages of codes and guidance have been condensed into 80 pages - with hyperlinks to guidance separate from the code.
The new code outlines key principles and behaviours which Institute members must – or ought to – adhere to, and then goes into detail on various types of fundraising, from digital to face-to-face fundraising. At the centre of the new codes is that “the conduct of Institute members must be legal, and ought to be open, honest and respectful”.
The central principles require that all money raised for a cause must be used for that cause, charities ought not to denigrate other organisations and individuals, ought not to exaggerate and also ought not to capitalise on mistakes made by a donor.
Attending the launch, minister for civil society Nick Hurd said it is critical that the regulations around fundraising keep in step with the times and ensure public trust in charities remains strong. “I think this is a really good example of the sector getting its act together to do the right thing at exactly the right time," the minister told a packed room.
"Let's use it, let's get it out there as something that people recognise and respect."
Institute chair Mark Astarita said that the revision of the codes reaffirmed the Institute’s place as the single code standard setter in fundraising self-regulation. Earlier in the year, Lord Hodgson had claimed that the structure of self-regulation of fundraising was deeply confusing to the public and required clarity; following which the Institute, Fundraising Standards Board and Public Fundraising Regulatory Association reaffirmed their distinct roles as standards-setter, complaint adjudicator and face-to-face fundraising ‘police’ respectively.
The FRSB, for its part, welcomed the new code. Chief executive Alistair McLean praised the new simplified code for its clarity and encouraged the Institute to take several bows for its achievement.
“Within the new code there is a clear focus on the overarching principles that constitute good fundraising and less ambiguity and duplication from one discipline to another,” he said.
McLean said that while the new code came into effect on Tuesday, the FRSB will be "sympathetic to plans already in place" but will adjudicate according to the letter of the new codes within a reasonable timeframe.