Summary of discussions from the Fundraising Regulation Seminar (12/06/2018)

15 Jun 2018 Lynn Kennedy    Last updated: 18 Jun 2018

An article detailing some of the comments, questions and answers from the Roundtable and Panel sessions at the Fundraising Regulation Seminar

 

 

 

 

 

 

For both those who attended and those who were unable to attend the Fundraising Regulation Seminar, below are some of the comments, questions and answers that arose from both the Roundtable discussions and the Q &A session for the panel of experts.  The panel comprised Stephen Dunmore, (Chief Executive, Fundraising Regulator), Frances McCandless, (Chief Executive, Charity Commission for Northern Ireland) and Bob Harper, (Data Development Officer, NICVA).

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Q1) There is a lot of fear and panic around GDPR and additional pressure on fundraising staff to implement it.  Is there a potential conflict of interest if fundraising staff also have a GDPR role?

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Bob Harper  Some organisations will have a voluntary Data Protection Officer (DPO).  Anyone can take on this role, although It might be worth someone with organisational oversight acting as the DPO.  However, if you are a large enough organisation you may legally have to appoint a DPO.  In either case, DPOs should be independent, able to question organisational practices and able to assert authority over management.   I don’t see a conflict of interest with fundraising staff taking on this role.

Stephen Dunmore  GDPR is not just an issue for fundraisers.  It is a systemic issue and ultimately the responsibility for compliance lies with the trustees.

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Q2) Charities are currently under a lot of scrutiny.  Will they face additional challenges if they sign up to the Fundraising Regulator?

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Stephen Dunmore  Charities will still be regulated whether they pay the levy and sign up or not.   If there is a complaint against you, we will investigate.  This is about your commitment to good fundraising practice...if you do not follow the Code, you are more likely to get complaints.  If you abide by the Code, you are less likely to have difficulties.

Seamus McAleavey  There is an overlap between fundraising and GDPR.  As we have found with GDPR and the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office), an organisation with robust procedures, or working towards them, will be seen in a good light.  It is the same with the Fundraising Regulator.

Frances McCandless  Engaging with good practice is an effective way to work.  You need to live the Code and fully engage with it. It can feel like a lot to understand if you are a small charity. However, you can get training and advice from various sources.  In any case, you do really need to understand what constitutes good governance if you are going to be an effective trustee. 

One delegate also commented that,  “If you apply the Code, you will have happier donors and thus happier fundraisers.”

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Q3) There have only been a handful of complaints so far in NI. What marketing plans does the Fundraising Regulator have to market itself to the public in NI?

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Stephen Dunmore  We have limited finances but will aim to use our links with existing umbrella bodies.  We are also considering developing a staff post to be based in NI.

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Q4) Once registered with the Fundraising Regulator, are there any benefits beyond building trust and are there any annual reporting requirements?

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Stephen Dunmore  For £50 per year you sign up to the Code of Fundraising Practice.  You have access to all the information we provide (although this is not exclusive).  We might in the future have a dedicated area for registrants with additional benefits, but that has not yet been resolved as we are reluctant to do this.

Others commented that,

  • “We have signed up because we wanted to show accountability to our supporters.  We have DfID funding and they require us to be registered.”
  • “We have paid to join the Fund-raising Regulator and feel that it is about transparency and confidence with our fundraising”.
  • “You can display their logo on your website.”

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Q5) Lots of sports clubs in NI don’t yet see the Fundraising Regulator as relevant to them. Is there a way to tackle this?

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Stephen Dunmore  We are keen to make contact with different sectors.  We like to get involved with thematic fora. We would be happy to come to an event to get the message across.

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Q6) We are not large enough to use fundraisers. We do get requests from volunteers to fundraise on our behalf.  How do we monitor this?  It feels a little unsafe.  Do we need them to sign up to the guidance?

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Stephen Dunmore  If they are fundraising for your charity you have a responsibility to ensure that they do it in a compliant way.  You need to ensure that they sign up to the parts of the Code that apply to them.

Frances McCandless  You are responsible for anything done in your charity’s name.  There was an example a few years ago where a charity used a third-party fundraiser and it went badly wrong.   You need to do due diligence and protect yourself. You should point them to the Code. There is also a section in the Charities Act that says you can prevent people from fund raising in your name.

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Q7) Do public sector funders require charities to be registered with the Fundraising Regulator?  Do SEUPB and the Executive Office require it?

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Stephen Dunmore  In the future, we expect funders, both public sector and others, will require it. 

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Q8)  At an event, people often give us money without us asking.  Are unsolicited donations, counted as fundraising?

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Stephen Dunmore  Yes, this is still fundraising.  If you look at the Code you will see specific guidance on this.  You need to collect these donations in the proper manner.

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Q9) There are so many regulators with excellent information, it would be good if there was a “one stop shop”.  Is there a list of governance issues?  There should be advice on how to proceed when you are just starting out.  With smaller charities, the trustees find it overwhelming.  There also needs to be better communication with trustees.

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Seamus McAleavey  We at NICVA also have a concern about the burden of regulation.  We don’t want it to kill off the work that people are trying to do. In terms of ensuring better communication with trustees, we bring staff to our Board meetings to report on specific areas of work so that all information does not solely go through the Chief Executive.

Frances McCandless  I strongly recommend the DIY Committee guide.  It outlines the responsibilities of trustees. You can link to it from the NICVA website. (http://www.nicva.org/article/diy-committee-guide-rebooted)

Note from NICVA NICVA’s Governance and Charity Advice team are available to provide advice and support to all charities, whether well established or just starting off.  See here

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For more information from the event and links to additional resources, please also see here.

lynn.kennedy@nicva.org's picture
by Lynn Kennedy

Fundraising Advice Officer

[email protected]

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