Work needed to make smaller charities aware of fundraising changes

A new survey says that nearly half of respondents are ‘not very familiar’ or ‘not at all familiar’ with the review of fundraising self-regulation conducted last summer.

| 5th Feb 16

A survey conducted by the Institute of Fundraising (IoF) and the Small Charities Coalition (SCC) has revealed that nearly half of respondents are ‘not very familiar’ or ‘not at all familiar’ with the review of fundraising self-regulation conducted last summer.

The review of fundraising conducted last year called for a new fundraising regulator to be established, with stronger sanctions and universal application across all fundraising charities.

The survey highlights that there’s strong support from over 80% of respondents for the review’s key recommendation for self-regulation with a stronger relationship with statutory regulators. However, a lack of familiarity among smaller charities on plans coming into effect for future fundraising regulation which will affect them, demonstrate that more and better engagement with smaller charities is vital.


Key findings

  • Nearly half of respondents (45%) report being ‘not very familiar’ or ‘not at all familiar’ with the review. With a stronger regulator being established which will have universal application across all charities we believe that there is significant work needed to raise awareness of the forthcoming changes to all charities.
  • The issues of public trust and confidence are being felt differently across smaller charities. 49% said that there had been ‘not very much’ or ‘no’ impact on their organisation, while 46% said there had been ‘some’ or ‘a great impact’.
  • Smaller charities are most concerned about the administrative and cost burden of a Fundraising Preference Service. 59% thought that it would lead to ‘an increased administrative burden’, and 59% thought that it would be ‘likely to result in increased cost for checking against a suppression list’, and over half (54%) thought that they would have to train staff to check contacts. More respondents thought that it would result in a drop in donations (40%), than would result in a ‘better public image’ (29%).
  • There seems to be a general agreement that stronger sanctions are needed. 52% think that the new regulator should be able to issue ‘cease and desist’ orders on fundraising activity; and 43% think that it should be able to issue compulsory training orders. The least popular possible sanction was ‘clearance of future campaigns’ (16%).
  • The most popular option for the funding of the new regulator was for it to be ‘funded by charities that fundraise from the public’ and who spend more than £100,000 on fundraising’ (38%) – though it should be noted that almost as many (34%) thought that funding should come from government.
  • While a fifth of respondents (21%) thought that the greater oversight of trustees would have ‘a great deal’ (6%) or ‘quite a lot’ (15%) of impact on their organisation. 72% said that trustees already play a clear role in or contribute to and set strategy for fundraising.

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “As we work to establish a new fundraising regulator, it’s essential that we hear and take on board views across the full range of fundraising organisations. Smaller charities make up the vast majority of the charities in the UK and have a significant role to play in helping to shape and inform the working practices of the new regulator.

“I have read with interest the results of this research, and look forward to hearing the views and discussions at the forum for small charities on Thursday, as part of our ongoing engagement across the fundraising sector.”

The full survey results will be published at