Monday January 27, 2014
Charities had a tough time in the press during 2013 and, at the start of the new year, it is a spur for organisations to pull out the stops, making resolutions to strengthen public confidence and demonstrate the high standards and impact of charity fundraising.
Here at the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), one of the self-regulatory bodies for fundraising, we believe that accountability is key, especially when it comes to raising funds. Donors give the charities they support their trust as well as their hard earned cash. And they are right to expect, in return, that charities should be willing to be held to account.
What does it mean to be accountable in fundraising? Ultimately, it is trustees that are accountable for the charity's actions. Whether trustees are involved in raising funds themselves or simply advising on the overarching strategy, they need to know that it is being done responsibly, honestly and effectively, and - of course - that the charity is adhering to regulations.
In Scotland and other parts of the UK, charities are held to account through the FRSB's self-regulatory scheme for fundraising (www.frsb.org.uk). This means committing to best practice as set out in the Institute of Fundraising's Code of Fundraising Practice and submitting a compliant return each year. It also means displaying the distinctive 'give with confidence' tick logo on fundraising campaigns.
Accountability should be part of every charity's culture. If a charity raises money for an appeal, it is only right to expect to answer queries about the costs, how much was raised and the impact of those donations. Important daily fundraising decisions like using new methods or accepting donations from corporates or individuals whose principles are not a natural fit, must be carefully considered against industry standards and organisational policies.
In short, charities must be prepared to answer for what they do, encouraging donor feedback and responding to questions from the public. It is only through a top-level commitment to accountability, that donors will be encouraged to give with confidence.
For more information, see www.frsb.org.uk or email FRSB Scotland at firstname.lastname@example.org.