Why fundraising is a matter of good governance

In this article we discuss why fundraising is a matter of good governance.

Fundraising is not just about generating income to support your organisation’s work. It is also about how your charitable institution communicates its mission and values, engages with the public and safeguards its long-term supporter relationships – which are matters of good governance. 

As a governor of a charitable organisation in the UK, you have ultimate responsibility for your organisation’s fundraising. You must be aware of the standards that apply to fundraising, as set out in the Fundraising Regulator’s Code of Fundraising Practice.

That’s why we’re hosting roundtable sessions at the upcoming Charity Governance Summit, to explain the standards and to offer you the chance to ask us questions directly so you are equipped to support your organisation’s fundraising. You can sign up to attend here.

Your responsibilities under the code 

Alongside expectations for fundraisers and particular methods of fundraising, the code outlines the general responsibilities of those who govern the fundraising activities of charitable institutions. These duties include risk assessments, effective complaints-handling procedures, and making sure charitable institutions use donations for the purposes for which they are given. 

To make sure your organisation’s fundraising is carried out in line with the Code, there are some key areas governing bodies should focus on: 

  • If your organisation is a charity, manage fundraising activity according to its governing document and meet relevant national charity law requirements.
  •  Use donations and funds for the purpose for which they were given.
  •  Create an effective fundraising policy that includes a procedure for screening prospective partners, as well as for accepting/refusing and returning donations, and review it regularly.
  • Have a clear and publicly available complaints procedure that also applies to businesses, agencies and volunteers (third-party fundraisers) raising funds on behalf of your organisation.
  • If you are not experts in fundraising, take appropriate advice from those who may support you.
  • Provide sufficient training to staff and volunteers fundraising on your organisation’s behalf to support best practice activity.
  • Closely monitor fundraising activity that is carried out by and on behalf of your organisation.
  • Follow all legal reporting requirements which apply to your charitable institution and the country you are fundraising in, such as The Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016.

If you are a charity trustee, watch this webinar to help you understand what your responsibilities are with regards to fundraising. 

Collaboration is key

Although the governing body of a charitable institution has ultimate responsibility for fundraising activity, senior staff in governance, risk and compliance roles also play an important role. Close collaboration with these experts from across your organisation will help you to direct effective fundraising. So that fundraising issues remain a focal point for your organisation, it should be a standing agenda item at your Board meetings. 

Going the extra mile 

As governance leaders and professionals, you will need to go that extra mile to make sure that your charitable institution’s fundraising approach protects resources and public trust in your organisation, as well as in charitable fundraising more widely. From strategy to supporter care, the four key values of the Code of Fundraising Practice – legal, open, honest and respectful – will help guide your approach to effective fundraising governance. 

Gavin Doyle, Policy and Standards Officer, Fundraising Regulator 

Gavin will be speaking at the Charity Governance Summit on 15 and 16 September 2021 – join the Fundraising Regulator’s roundtable discussion with Q&A to learn more about the fundraising standards.



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