Speech: William Shawcross presentation to Fundraising Summit, 4 December 2015

It is good to be here today and to have the opportunity to talk a little about our revised fundraising guidance that was published in draft yesterday.

We have heard many times in recent months concerns expressed about the role of trustees in fundraising.

The Etherington review heard from many people that charity trustees were too often remote or absent altogether from discussions on charity fundraising practice or values.

The chairs of charities who appeared before the Public Administration Committee’s inquiry also acknowledged that they and their boards should have been more directly engaged in overseeing fundraising.

Perhaps the fact that fundraising practice is not regulated by the Charity Commission has created a perception that fundraising does not need to be a priority for trustees.

Let me be clear: trustees have overall responsibility for the raising of funds by their charities, and their role is key.

Yesterday we published a new, considerably revised edition of our guidance on fundraising for trustees.

We planned to revise our guidance on fundraising this year anyway, but this summer it rapidly became clear how important this revision would be.

In revising the guidance we aim to put greater emphasis on the trustee role in the context of fundraising.

We want to set out very clearly our regulatory expectations of trustees, and to explain the triggers for Commission involvement in fundraising concerns. This is particularly important as the new framework for self-regulation develops under my friend, Lord Grade.

We want to explain, in the context of fundraising, the need to balance the risk of raising required funds against the risk of different fundraising approaches, and to manage those risks.

We will not try to capture in our guidance all the other relevant regulations and standards governing fundraising, but we want to explain our expectations and direct trustees to the sources of information

And as with all our guidance for trustees, we need to make sure that it is as easy as possible for trustees of all fundraising charities – large and small – to understand their legal duties and apply the principles to their own charity

The 6 principles for trustees we have set out in the guidance are:

  • Planning effectively – this means about trustees being directly involved in setting and monitoring their charity’s overall approach to fundraising. Fundraising plans should take account of risks and your charity’s values as well as its income expectations.

  • Supervising your fundraisers – which is about trustees overseeing the fundraising which others carry out for their charity, whether those are volunteers or agencies

  • Protecting your charity’s reputation, money and other assets – namely, meeting your legal trustee duty to act in the best interests of your charity and protect it from inappropriate risk, loss or fraud

  • Finding out about, and fully complying with, any specific laws or regulations that apply to your charity’s fundraising

  • Finding out about, and following, the standards set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice – we expect all fundraising charities to comply fully with the Code

  • Being open and accountable – complying with reporting and accounting requirements, and effectively explaining your fundraising work to the public and your donors

The consultation on the guidance runs until 11 February and we would welcome all feedback.

We aim to publish final guidance in April to align with the timetable for the new self-regulatory regime.

Thank you for listening and I would welcome any questions.

To see the slides that William spoke to, along with other presentations for the day, please visit the NCVO website.

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