Guest Blog: Ring out the old, ring in the new…

A guest blog reflecting on the Fundraising Regulator's work with NI charities since March 2018 and its future plans.

The Fundraising Regulator has been working with charities to keep fundraising standards high in Northern Ireland since March 2018. As we reach the end of the year, now seems like a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved with you in the last 9 months and to look ahead to some new year’s resolutions for 2019.

One of our big resolutions for next year is to increase awareness across the country of who we are and what we do. We’ve had a positive response from Northern Ireland charities since March, with more than half of those fundraising organisations we’ve identified as eligible to pay our levy now registered with us. But there are still a significant number of you out there doing large amounts of fundraising that haven’t yet got in touch.  If you spend £100,000 or more each year on fundraising but haven’t yet received a letter from us inviting you to pay our levy, please let us know at [email protected]  

Smaller charities can get involved too. If your fundraising spend is under £100,000 each year, you can register with us directly by going online at You’ll receive a badge that you can use on your fundraising material, sending a clear message to donors and supporters you are committed to good fundraising practice.

Here are 3 ways we’ve supported good fundraising in the last year…

  1. The Code of Fundraising Practice

The Code is the set of standards that applies to fundraising across the UK. For this reason, it’s vital that fundraisers work with us to keep it relevant when it comes to what you do on the ground.

Our consultations with charities resulted in us developing new Code sections and guidance to support good fundraising, including:

  • to help fundraisers understand their Data Protection responsibilities in light of GDPR. Our GDPR briefings with the Institute of Fundraising put the new data protection regulation under the fundraising microscope.
  • to clarify requirements on fundraising using static collections and the Telephone Preference Service. Our short guide to TPS tells you when you need to check telephone numbers with the Telephone Preference Service.
  • to ensure the fees of online fundraising platforms are clear and transparent, and that fundraisers using these sites know how to get money to its intended destination. We’ve created guidance for those who use fundraising platforms.

Our dedicated enquiries team is available 5 days a week to advise you on any queries you may have on fundraising standards. For more details, go to

  1. Complaints

Part of our role is to deal with complaints about fundraising where a charity is unable to resolve it themselves. We received and resolved over 1,000 complaints in the last year concerning charities large and small. We also published guidance to help charities deal with complaints effectively.

  1. The Fundraising Preference Service

This is the “last resort” service we introduced in 2016. It lets members of the public make requests to stop charities sending them fundraising communications. More than 20,000 requests later, the service is proving its value not only to individuals but also to those who care for vulnerable people.

2019 and beyond…

But we’re just getting started! Here are 5 things the Fundraising Regulator wants to achieve with charities in 2019…

  • Reorganise and update the Code to improve its accessibility.
  • Support the sector in understanding their responsibilities on ePrivacy regulation.
  • Carry out casework and share learning through our complaints report, gathering data from the 50 largest charities.
  • Continued engagement with charities and fundraisers through seminars, conferences and events and with sector bodies like NICVA.
  • Work with the Charity Commission NI, ICO and other regulators to ensure we can reflect the very latest legal guidance.

If you haven’t already done so, you can help us keep the reputation of fundraising strong by going online and registering with us. Let’s make 2019 a fundraising year to remember for all the right reasons!

Written by Stephen Service, Policy Manager, Fundraising Regulator


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