By Priya Warner, former Head of Policy at the Fundraising Regulator
International Charity Fraud Awareness Week brings together everyone involved in the charity and not-for-profit sectors to raise awareness and share good practice in tackling fraud and financial crime.
Advice for the public
We know that fraudsters target members of the public, particularly those who are vulnerable. As the regulator of charitable fundraising we publish guidance for members of the public about giving safely.
The key message of our safer giving advice for the public is to check before giving to make sure your money goes to genuine, registered charities. This includes checking the charity’s name and registration number, that fundraising materials both print and online are genuine, and verifying the identity of street collectors.
If you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate you should report it to the police or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or through their website at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Advice for fundraising organisations
But what about your fundraising organisation? You are also vulnerable to fraud – so it’s important that you look at each area of your fundraising activity, consider where the potential risks are and how you can mitigate these.
That’s why I’ve contributed to the new free awareness hub for International Charity Fraud Awareness Week hosted by the Charity Commission for England and Wales, Fraud Advisory Panel and UK Finance to provide advice on steps you can take to protect your organisation against fraud.
The hub launches today on Monday 21 October and is a one stop shop for information, guidance and case studies, bringing together charity professionals from across the globe to discuss and share ideas on how to protect the sector.
Using a specific example, of collecting cash on private sites, I’ve shared advice for situations where you know that an individual is going to raise money for your charity but the money isn’t given to you, and when a person is claiming to be raising money for your charity and they use your charity’s cause and name to steal from members of the public.
Top tips to avoid fundraising fraud
- Be alert to the potential for fraud
- Identify the ways that your fundraising could be at risk of fraud
- Think about how to mitigate these, including training your staff to spot the signs
- Learn from others through using the online resource hub
- And finally, if you have been a victim of fraud – please report it to Action Fraud (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), Police Scotland (Scotland) or HMRC and either the Charity Commission for England and Wales or Northern Ireland.
It’s important for charities of all sizes to protect their income and assets so do take a look at all the free resources on the hub and the advice guides we have on our own website including our fundraising topic pages and resource library.
Together we can keep charity fraud out.