The revised Code of Fundraising Practice came into effect yesterday, 1st October:

Written in plain English with a Crystal Mark accreditation, it is designed to make it easier for fundraisers, charities, third party organisations and the general public to understand the standards expected of ethical fundraising.

In essence, fundraising needs to be:

• legal;

• open;

• honest; and

• respectful.

Perhaps that would seem a statement of the obvious, but too many unfavourable headlines about (some) charities have hit the press in recent years: about misuse of personal data; the bombarding of vulnerable people with remorseless requests for money; trustees blithely unaware of, or just turning a Nelsonian eye towards, the fundraising practices undertaken in the name of their charity, on their watch.

The Charity Commission regards trustees as the "moral compass" of their charities. Those individuals are expected to ensure that fundraising undertaken by or on behalf of their charities complies with the Code.

For charities needing to have their annual accounts audited there are existing statutory obligations to report about their fundraising practice - and about any complaints that result - in their annual report.

There used to be a stock exam question, "Do the ends justify the means?"

For charities, in October 2019, the answer has to be a simple "no".

If you have any questions about compliance with the Code or regarding your legal obligations around fundraising then feel free to get in touch with our charities team.