Today we published our latest Annual Report and Accounts, which highlight how we reprioritised our work amid the unprecedented challenges facing the fundraising sector from March 2020 onwards.
Our reporting period (1 September 2019 to 31 August 2020) falls six months before and six months after the Coronavirus pandemic began. The report explains how, in response to the pandemic, we focused our efforts on producing guidance to ensure that both fundraisers and the public could fundraise and donate safely.
This series of Coronavirus guidance was produced in collaboration with other sector organisations, such as the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, the Charity Commission for England and Wales, National Trading Standards and Action Fraud, to ensure a joined-up message to all individuals and organisations engaged in fundraising.
We worked with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to ensure our guidance for fundraising organisations applied the very latest Government advice, to achieve endorsement from the Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England and the Cabinet Office.
Our Annual Report observes how the nature of enquiries we received changed over the period, reflecting that fundraisers were adapting to the restrictions on social contact. We also saw fluctuations in the volume of complaints received across the year, reflecting times when public fundraising methods were paused.
The Annual Report also sets out the work that took place pre-pandemic, which included some important milestones: the implementation of the new Code of Fundraising Practice, which was the most comprehensive overhaul of the code in more than a decade; maturing of our complaints function, following the publication of the first external review of our casework; and the highest payment rate of the annual levy in our history, with 97% of the total collected.
In addition, the our latest accounts provide detail on our income and expenditure. The accounts show that after four years of operation, our financial position is sound and that charity levy payments in the year reached 97% of the amount invoiced. This is the highest collection rate to date, demonstrating the sector’s continued support of independent regulation.
The accounts also show that we achieved our optimum level of reserves of six months operating costs, which was the target set by our board in 2016.
2021 marks the fifth year of the Fundraising Regulator, and looking ahead, we will continue to support the sector and members of the public throughout the pandemic, as we look towards implementing our new strategic plan from 2022.
The content of our Annual Report, as well as our future plans, will be discussed in more detail at our virtual Annual Event on 8 February 2021.
Lord Toby Harris, Chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said:
“This year our primary focus has, of course, been to help fundraising organisations meet the challenges of the pandemic through guidance and resources. We’ve also made it a priority to ensure the public know what good fundraising looks like.
“It was a year in which we saw true innovation and resilience as many organisations increased their use of digital fundraising methods and overhauled the way they interacted with donors. Collectively, the sector has responded with agility and willingness to evolve.
“As the Fundraising Regulator enters its fifth year of operation, I believe the sector has made significant strides forward. The evolution in fundraising practice we have seen in just five years is a credit to the progressive nature of the fundraising sector, and proves our regulatory model is working to raise standards.”
Gerald Oppenheim, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said:
“Despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, our annual report demonstrates how the sector has continued to respond positively to our regulatory activity and maintain high standards of fundraising practice. Our achievements throughout the year, such as the launch of the new code and high rate of levy payment, represent our maturity as a regulator and the charity sector’s support of self-regulation.”
Read our Annual Review of 2019/20.
Read our Annual Report and Accounts for 2019/20.