Fundraising Regulator: Five tips if you are in a new fundraising role
Joanne McDowell, Northern Ireland Manager at the Fundraising Regulator, reflects on responses to enquiries from people moving into new fundraising roles and where guidance from the regulator can help with planning next steps.
It’s evident many charities in Northern Ireland are working through the question ‘what next?’ in terms of their fundraising teams and strategies. I have spoken with many people who are either new to fundraising or who are moving into a new role in a fundraising team. If you are new to your role or are simply looking to refresh your fundraising knowledge, this blog provides some helpful hints and tips as you plan your future activity.
1.Embed the standards and values
If your organisation carries out fundraising for charitable purposes in Northern Ireland, the standards in the Code of Fundraising Practice apply to its activities – whether you are registered with the Fundraising Regulator, or not. The four fundraising values underpin all standards in the code: legal, open, honest and respectful. Think about how you can use these values to guide your fundraising to create a meaningful and positive experience for you and the people you engage with. Our key behaviours expected of fundraisers guidance helps to illustrate some practical ways this can apply in action.
2.Check what may be different
You may be trying out a new income stream for the first time or be unfamiliar with some of the activities already carried out by your new organisation, so make sure you are aware of any standards that apply to specific fundraising methods. Our fundraising topics pages are a great summary about which standards might be relevant. They also signpost to guidance from other organisations that can help you plan your approach.
3.Get trustees on board
Though you or a wider team will deal with the day-to-day running of your organisation, your governing body has ultimate responsibility for its fundraising activity. Think about the working relationship the board has with fundraisers, how aware it is of your fundraising activities, and the processes that might need to be in place to make sure two-way communication is effective. I recommend using our free webinar series on the code as part of your trustee training. We have a specific short video that introduces trustee responsibilities when it comes to fundraising.
4.Plan well and equip your volunteers
To reduce reputational or financial risks, you must get your planning right. This is particularly important when working with other people who have a lot of enthusiasm but potentially less knowledge about how to fundraise in line with the code. A common example is when charities or those fundraising for them do not say what will happen to any funds raised under or over their target, which can cause issues if the original purpose can’t be fulfilled. You can use our advice for the public on setting up fundraising appeals and online fundraising to help equip your volunteers and supporters.
5.Anticipate complaints and how to respond appropriately
You should plan for handling complaints about your fundraising at the outset. The code states that fundraising organisations must have a clear and publicly available complaints procedure, which also applies to third-party fundraisers. Familiarise yourself with your policies and procedures. Think about who will respond to complaints, how they will be dealt with, and how lessons learned will be recorded and embedded in future practice. Our complaints handling guidance and webinar video will help improve your understanding.
As you work through planning your fundraising campaigns, you can get in touch with us to ask any questions you might have about the fundraising standards.
You can contact the Fundraising Regulator for advice on the code at [email protected],uk or phone us on 0300 999 3407.
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