The government has been unable to clarify how the updated rules on social distancing will apply to fundraising events.
From Monday 14 September, the law forbids groups of larger than six people to meet and socialise in England.
However, there are many exceptions to the rule, including “for work, and voluntary or charitable services” and “organised indoor and outdoor sports”.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) could not clarify to Civil Society News whether the “work” exception applies to fundraising events.
IoF seeking clarification
The Chartered Institute of Fundraising (IoF), which has been working with the Fundraising Regulator on guidance for fundraising events, said it has also sought clarification from the government on what the change means.
Daniel Fluskey, head of policy and external affairs at IoF, tweeted on Wednesday: “Draft guidance is with Gov for consultation with relevant bodies. We know the change limiting up to 6 will have a big impact on possible events and trying to get clarity on this ASAP.”
He later added: “The question is whether fundraising events count as ‘social gatherings’ or as ‘work’.
“Pretty sure they won’t be allowed. So likely no community/events fundraising with over 6 people will happen while this is in place.”
Organised sport activities are allowed, meaning that many events raising money for charity can still take place.
Guidance on Sport England's website says: “While social gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England from 14 September, the government’s confirmed that organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols can continue, as can organised outdoor sports and physical activity events such as parkrun, which is due to return next month.”
parkrun has a partnership with Alzheimer’s Research UK that has raised more than £1.5m since 2015.
However, there is no clarity on whether community fundraising events set up by volunteer fundraisers can include more than six people or not.
Mind: We anticipate new rules will limit community events
One charity, Mind, said it expects the new rules will limit its ability to organise in-person community events.
Maria Khosla, community fundraising manager at Mind, said: “We are just three weeks away from launching our hugely popular mass participation fundraiser, Crafternoon.
“This year, we’ve adapted our resources to offer hosts the additional option to hold their events online, if they so wish.
“We anticipate that the latest government ruling on social gatherings will limit fundraising from community-based events, especially those that are sociable, like Crafternoon. We are continuing to carefully consider how we best support our fundraisers to safely hold their events over the coming weeks, but we expect to see a greater demand for the virtual alternatives.”