Press release: Charity regulators issue advice on how to give safely to charity this Christmas

Charitable giving rises over Christmas and the winter period, with many charities and companies running dedicated Christmas appeals. Although the majority of charitable collections are genuine, unfortunately there are fraudsters and criminals that are prepared to take advantage of the public’s generosity and misuse charitable funds. The Charity Commission and the Fundraising Regulator have teamed up to set out a few simple steps that the public can take – whether donating online or in person – to ensure their money reaches worthy causes.

Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Charity Commission said:

Christmas can be a great time to donate time or money to a cause that matters to you – and we know the public cares about whether their donations make a difference. We do want to remind donors to be aware and to check that they are giving to a registered charity.

Transparency is really important and genuine fundraisers will be happy to answer questions and explain the positive impact their charity is having on its cause. You can also read up on a charity’s good work and activities on our online charity register so you can make an informed decision when giving.

Stephen Dunmore, Chief Executive at the Fundraising Regulator, said:

It is in the interests of charities and the public alike to ensure that donations go to the good causes they are intended for during this festive season. Making some basic checks as a donor can help ensure it is the beneficiaries and not fraudsters who benefit from your generosity.

Safer giving street donation tips

  1. Check the charity has a charity registration number and verify this on the Charity Commission’s online register.
  2. Ask to see the collector’s ID badge.
  3. Check the collector has a licence to fundraise with the local authority or has the consent of the private site owner.
  4. Check that the charity follows the Fundraising Regulator’s guidance and Code of Fundraising Practice.
  5. Ensure the collection device is sealed and fundraising materials are in a good condition.

Safer giving online donation tips

  1. Check the charity has a charity registration number and verify this on the Charity Commission’s online register.
  2. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you’ve never heard of or have no association with.
  3. Don’t click on links on emails – instead search online for your chosen charity to check you have the right web address and donate directly to them.
  4. Check there is a padlock symbol in the URL bar and that the web address starts with ‘https’.
  5. Ensure the charity is genuine before divulging any financial information and never share your pin number.

Never feel pressurised into making a donation immediately and if you’re still unsure, donate directly to charity through other channels. If you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to the police or Action Fraud.


PR 88/16

Notes to editors

  1. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
  2. To find out more about our work, see our annual report.
  3. The Fundraising Regulator is the independent regulator of charitable fundraising. It was established following the Etherington review of fundraising self-regulation to strengthen the system of charity regulation and restore public trust in fundraising.
  4. Charities with an annual income of less than £5,000 do not have to register with the Charity Commission.

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