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Finance and funding


Finance and fund-raising for charities and for benevolent purposes

This page contains the following sections:


Fundraising assistance and sources

Charities and tax

Regulation of fundraising
  England and Wales
  Northern Ireland and  Scotland


This page deals with Government and other assistance and sources relating to finance of and fundraising by charities and the voluntary sector in general, as well as the law and regulation relating to such fundraising in the UK.

Civil Society update series holds responsibility for charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations in the Cabinet Office. It replaced the Office of the Third Sector following the general election in 2010. On its launch, it was announced that government policy would focus on three fundamental issues:

* Making it easier to run a charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation

* Getting more resources into the sector: strengthening its independence and resilience

* Making it easier for sector organisations to work with the state

Fundraising sources and assistance

The Civil Society pages contain information and news relating to finance and fundraising for the voluntary sector.

The Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team have published a paper entitled 'Applying behavioural insights to charitable giving'. The paper opens with the statement:

'The UK is a generous country, home to some of the world’s greatest philanthropists, to some 150,000 charities, and to a public that donated £11.7billion to charitable causes in 2011'.

The first part of this paper describes four behavioural insights found in the academic literature on giving and altruism and shows how they might be used to support charitable giving. The second part sets out the results from five randomised controlled trials conducted by the Behavioural Insights Team that show how effective the application of these insights can be in practice.

Funding Central is a website for charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises - providing access to funding and finance opportunities, together with of tools and resources supporting organisations to develop income strategies appropriate to their needs. Funding Central is managed by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and is funded by the Office for Civil Society.

Funding Central provides a free weekly newsletter which provides news and information on trends, news and issues regarding funding and finance opportunities.

What's new on this topic [go to the What's new page or archive for the ful item]

06/05/2014: Consultation on new fund to support the sustainability of voluntary organisations

Proposals to provide voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations with the support they need to plan for the long term and begin to move to sustainable business models are being consulted on by the Cabinet Office. The fund will only be available to VCSE sector organisations in England, with devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland responsible for related policy in their areas. Applications can be made in 2015 and the consultation will run until 24 July 2014.

Charities and tax

The subject of charities and tax is dealt with in the section on Charities.

Regulation of fundraising

The current fundraising regulatory landscape in the UK has been described as “something of a patchwork” (see the Hodgson Report). There is legislation regulating fundraising by charities in the street and public places, and separate legislation the making of collections from house to house (which includes not only residential houses but also shops, public houses and places of business).

Legislation also regulates agreements with charities made by professional fund-raisers and commercial participants. It also regulates statements made by persons which make claims that contributions are being sought or made for charitable purposes.

Fundraising for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes is regulated in the UK but under regulations which differ between England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Fundraisers should also have regard to regulation and self-regulation in the following areas:

* the Advertising Codes;
* Direct marketing and preference services;
* Data protection;
* Lottery regulation

What's new

28/02/2018 Institute of Fundraising publishes joint guidance on GDPR

Source: Institute of Fundraising

The Institute of Fundraising has published a joint guidance on GDPR for fundraisers and charities, which gives an overview of fundraising methods and how personal data is likely to be used in each case. This guidance is indicative of more detailed guidance that fully prepares fundraisers ahead of GDPR coming into effect on 25 May 2018.

Reviewed and co-badged by the Information Commissioner’s Office, the guidance offers fundraisers and charities a guideline for their future work and encourages practical application of the law to real life scenarios.

The guidance is free and supported by regulators and membership bodies throughout the UK, including the Charity Commission, National Council for Voluntary Organisations, Wales Council for Voluntary Action, the Charity Commission Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and the Scottish Independent Fundraising Panel.

23/01/2017: ICO action to tackle unlawful personal data processing by charities and an individual

Source: Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

The ICO has announced the imposition of monetary penalties of £25,000 and £18,000 respectively for the RSPCA and British Heart Foundation for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).

The infringements relate to ‘wealth screening’ of potential donors whose data was processed in breach of the DPA. The ICO found that the privacy policies relied upon by the organisations to permit the processing was too vague.

Rebecca Grey, a former recruitment agency worker, has been fined after pleading guilty to the offence of unlawfully obtaining data. Ms Grey emailed the personal data of approximately 100 clients and potential clients to her personal email address as she was leaving to start a new role at a rival recruitment company. Ms Grey pleaded guilty under the Data Protection Act 1998, s 55, and was fined £200, and ordered to pay £214 prosecution costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

26/02/2016: British Red Cross commits to fundraising call best practice

British Red Cross has signed an undertaking committing the charity to best practice around fundraising calls. Fundraising calls are covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which set out rules around what permission people need to have given before organisations can call them to market their services. The undertaking commits British Red Cross to following these rules, which the ICO regulates, but it also notes the charity’s pledge to go beyond that. The charity will only call potential donors if they have specifically opted in to receiving such calls in the previous two years.

The undertaking was signed after the ICO contacted British Red Cross as part of its investigation into a report in the Daily Mail that suggested a number of charities were ignoring marketing rules to compete for donations. The ICO found the British Red Cross had complied with the law, but offered advice around further good practice that could be implemented.

Self-regulation: there is a certain amount of self-regulation in this area. Three different bodies have a role in self-regulation:

* The Fund Raising Standards Board;
* The Institute of Fundraising; and
* The Public Fundraising Regulatory Association

See: Self-regulation

England and Wales

There is separate and detailed legislation covering:

* House to house collections
* Street and public place collections
* Professional fundraisers, commercial participators and representation statements

See: England and Wales

Legislative reform - Legaleze comment
As is apparent from the above, the regulation of charity and benevolent fundraising is long overdue for reform.

See: Legislative reform

Northern Ireland and Scotland

There is separate legislation governing fundraising for charitable or benevolent purposes in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

See: Northern Ireland and Scotland

[Page updated: 24/03/2018]


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