Giving to charity is a longstanding and important tradition, and the British public are generous when it comes to supporting charitable causes.
Sadly, that generosity can sometimes be undermined by those who seek to intercept charitable funds for their own gain.
We want to help donors know how to spot a genuine registered charity.
By making simple checks part of the routine of donating, we can all become smarter and more conscious donors, and help promote public trust in the sector as a whole.
Advice for the public
Do not be put off supporting the important work of charities, but make sure you are safely giving to genuine charity collectors by following our steps to safer giving:
- before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number on our register
- be more cautious about people collecting for general charitable causes, such as ‘it’s for local sick children’- make more enquiries about what exactly the money would be used for and by who
- when approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and that it is not damaged
- if in doubt, ask the collector for more information – a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity
- check a collector has a license to fundraise with the local authority or has the consent of the private site owner
- check that the charity follows the Fundraising Regulator’s guidance and Code of Fundraising Practice
- carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to find out whether they are from a genuine charity
- never feel under pressure by a fundraiser into making a donation immediately
Safer giving online donation tips
Apply the same checks online as you would in person, but also:
- be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you have never heard of or have no association with
- don’t click on links contained in emails – instead search online for your chosen charity to check you have the right web address and donate directly to them
- check there is a padlock symbol in the URL bar and that the web address starts with ‘https’
- make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information and never share your pin number
After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to the police; and if you think the collection is fraudulent report it to Action Fraud through their website or call them on 0300 123 2040.
- If you think a collector does not have a licence – report it to the relevant Local Authority Licensing Team or the Metropolitan Police (if in Greater London). Also let the charity and Action Fraud know if you can
- If in any doubt, contact your favourite charity directly to find out how to make a donation