Large charities that operate in the United Kingdom may have to sign up to a new watchdog after the government agreed to take measures to stop abusive fundraisers. The Fundraising Standards Board will be closed, and a new regulator, likely to be called the Fundraising Regulator, will be established. It will be funded by the charities themselves.
According to fundraising.co.uk, a ‘large’ charity is one that spends over £100,000 annually on public fundraising.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet approved the recommendations of an official review into fundraising by Sir Stuart Etherington, CEO of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
After Olive Cooke, a 92-year-old poppy seller took her own life, the Government commissioned a review of charity behavior.
It is sad that people need protection from the very organizations that claim to protect.
According to Ms. Cooke’s family, up to her death she had been receiving over 200 letters each month from charitable organizations requesting donations, as well as persistent phone calls.
The whole country reacted with disgust and alarm; hence the Government-commissioned review.
Charities sell personal information
Some charities make money by selling people’s personal data, which exposes them to predatory confidence tricksters. Samuel Rae, 87, a widower from Cornwall, was conned out of £35,000 after charities sold his personal information.
Under the new regulations:
– Charities will initially be given the chance to sign up to the new regulatory system voluntarily.
– If they fail to protect supporters from excessive pressure to donate, minister will have the power to intervene and regulate their fundraising.
– Individuals who are flooded with fundraising requests from charities will have a way to ‘reset’ and stop being hounded.
– Every charity will need the consent of all donors before any data may be shared.
Rob Wilson MP, Minister for Civil Society, said:
“Charitable giving is one of the most decent and generous attributes of a civilised society – and we need to rebuild people’s faith in the big charities. Those who give to charity should know their donation is going to further a worthy cause and this trust will never be abused.”
William Shawcross, Chairman of the Charity Commission, said:
“Charities must now step up to reform and strengthen self-regulation, and to show that they can and will put the public interest first. The Charity Commission will play its part to support the development of the new fundraising regulatory body.”
Of the £40.5 billion that charities raise in the UK each year, £18.8 billion comes from individuals (their biggest single source of income).