This month sees the long-awaited new Code of Fundraising Practice, which has been produced by the Fundraising Regulator after much discussion and debate, finally becoming effective.

Incidents in recent years involving governance and other shortcomings by a number of medium size and large charities including Kids’ Company, 4U and Oxfam have confirmed in everybody’s minds the need for a Code which sets the standards to which all charities and fundraising professionals should aspire.

The Institute of Fundraising (IoF) – the UK’s leading professional body for fundraising professionals – has long maintained an effective Code of Practice for its members. However, there are many individuals and organisations calling themselves “fundraisers”, but not affiliated to the IoF and whose staff are not individual members of the Institute, let alone holding any of the IoF’ s qualifications in fundraising.

The transfer of responsibility for the Code to the Fundraising Regulator has built on the strong foundations created both by the IoF and by the Public Fundraising Association (PFRA). The new Code sets out standards which many of us have long maintained, but which have sadly not been universal throughout the UK. Specifically:

  • All fundraising must meet the requirements of the law
  • Fundraisers must be open with the public about their processes and must be willing to explain (where appropriate) if they are asked for more information
  • Fundraisers must act with integrity and must not mislead the public about the cause they are fundraising for or the way a donation will be used
  • Fundraisers must demonstrate respect whenever they have contact with any member of the public.

For many of us in the profession, the above would be considered a blinding glimpse of the obvious. The sad fact is, however, that some fundraisers and fundraising organisations, as well as some charities, have fallen short in these areas.

We often rail against increased regulation in our lives and the administrative burden it generates. The new Code of Fundraising Practice is the exception to this: it will surely be welcomed by fundraising professionals and by members of the public everywhere.