Reporting fundraising activities within the Trustees' Report - Guidance on good reporting.

Article | Gemma Baratte | 10th March 2020

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Fundraising activities are not being correctly reported in over 50% of the annual reports reviewed by the Fundraising Regulator. The new reporting requirement, under Section 13 of Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 came into effect a year ago and requires charities to include a statement regarding fundraising within the trustees’ report. The reporting requirement is mandatory for all larger charities whose accounts are subject to audit under Section 144 of the Charities Act 2011.

The findings are based on a review of 106 annual reports from charities where over £100k was spent on fundraising activities and the charities pay the Fundraising Regulator’s levy. Only 43 of those reviewed were found to be compliant; 35 contained too little information with the remainder including some information but with no dedicated statement.

Missing information included:
• Who carried out the fundraising and how
• What fundraising regulation code charities has signed up to
• How charities monitor any fundraising for them
• How charities protect vulnerable people
• How many complaints have been received

New guidance has been published by The Fundraising Regulator on what to include in the statement to ensure full compliance. An ‘exemplar’ report for a fictitious charity has been published which can be used as a template. This is provided in full at the end of this article.

What can charities do better to meet the requirements?

The 6 points below are the areas that must be covered in a trustee’s report:

1) The Charity’s approach to their fundraising activities and details of any fundraising done on its behalf – areas to consider include how campaigns are run, what they are and how successful they are. If run by third parties, details should be given on methods used and how the public are asked to participate.

2) Any voluntary fundraising regulation scheme / standard the charity or those acting on its behalf were signed up to – The Fundraising Regulator is the only voluntary regulation scheme for fundraising operations in England and Wales. Registering ensures compliance with the Act and a statement confirming the charity is compliant with the Code of Fundraising Practice should be included in the report.

3) If the charity has failed to comply with the scheme – Details of any areas of non-compliance should be disclosed, including details of any investigations carried out by the Regulator.

4) How fundraising activities carried out on the charities behalf have been monitored – Details of how the charity manages and monitors fundraising completed by third parties, including how standards are maintained and how contracts are managed (i.e. training and support)

5) Number of complaints received – details should be disclosed on the specific number of complaints received. Systems should be in place to record and report on any complaints.

6) Action taken to protect vulnerable people and the wider public to fundraising activities including unreasonable intrusion, persistent methods to receive donations and undue pressure on giving donations – details should be given on the practical activities implemented to ensure protection.

Discussing the above compliance matters in a positive manner gives donors confidence about the charity’s compliance with regards to best practice when fundraising.

Annex A: Exemplar fundraising report for Our Hospice charity

Donors to Our Hospice can be assured that we comply with the regulatory standards for fundraising. We are registered with the Fundraising Regulator and are committed to the Fundraising Promise and adherence to the Code of Fundraising Practice. We encourage our fundraising service providers we engage with to also be signed up to the code. This report covers the requirements charities must follow as set out in the Charities Act 2016.

It has cost us £10 million to provide our hospice services this year. Roughly a third of this came from statutory funding, a third came from our permanent endowment and we need to raise the balance through fundraising.

Our fundraising effort involves encouraging donations and gifts in wills, running events and operating a lottery. Our in-house fundraising team sometime engage professional fundraisers to help us deliver fundraising initiatives. We aim to ensure those agencies we employ also observe the highest standards in terms of fundraising practice.

This year, we ran our popular hospice 10k event and were supported by 5,000 runners. Individual donations were static but amount raised from legacies increased.

We are registered with the Fundraising Regulator and comply with all the relevant standards set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice. Several of our in-house fundraising team are members of the Institute of Fundraising.

We use third-party suppliers to help us raise funds particularly where we do not have the expertise in-house. We have safeguards in place when working with suppliers so that we protect our supporters and the reputation of our charity.

We ensure that the correct safeguards are in place with our suppliers and those who fundraise on our behalf. We require them to confirm that they comply with the Code of Fundraising Practice.
Our website outlines our complaints policy for the public and clearly explains how an individual can complain. We received 10 complaints in the 2017-18 financial year. In contrast, last year we received 20 so this represents a 50% decrease.

We responded to all complaints within 10 days. Complaints are dealt with in-line with our fundraising complaints policy. Most serious complaints are escalated to our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and trustees so they can consider lessons learnt. SLT and trustees also consider an annual report about complaints. We report to the Fundraising Regulator on the totality of our complaints.

We have published our vulnerable persons policy on our website. We are also signed up to the Fundraising Preference Service to enable individuals to opt out from receiving fundraising communications from us. We actioned 15 requests from this service last year.

In addition to our policy we have an agreed operating procedure to protect vulnerable people. Our fundraisers (both staff and third party) are familiarised with the code of conduct to ensure that it is applied properly.

If you have any questions regarding the issues raised in this article, please speak to one of our advisers by contacting us.

About the author

Gemma Baratte

Gemma joined PEM in 2007 and was promoted to Audit Manager in 2015 and specialises in charities/not for profits and academies.

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