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Regulators urge safe giving as communities respond to Coronavirus pandemic

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator today urged people to ‘give safely’ as people continue to respond with generosity in the current crisis.

At this time of national emergency charities are coming together to support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is vital at this unprecedented time of need that donations reach their intended cause. Charities will form a core part of our collective response to the pandemic, so we encourage people to give to existing registered charities. By giving to a registered, regulated charity, the public can have assurance that their funds will be accounted for in line with the charity law framework.

The regulators encourage people to support registered charities, including the National Emergencies Trust (NET) national coronavirus fundraising appeal, launched yesterday to raise funds for local charities responding to the pandemic. The Commission helped to establish the NET following other devastating disasters, and it is well equipped to coordinate the charity sector’s contribution to emergency response.

Thousands of other registered charities are also dealing with the pandemic or continuing to do important work throughout the country to support vulnerable people and communities.

Advice for the public on giving safely to registered charities is:

  • check the charity’s name and registration number at www.gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
  • make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
  • be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
  • contact or find out more online about the charity that you’re seeking to donate to or work with to find out more about their spending

Baroness Tina Stowell, Chair of the Charity Commission said:

“British people have a proud tradition of charitable giving and generosity, and this pandemic is already giving rise to that spirit of charity and community that brings people together. We want to ensure that people do so safely and in the most effective way possible so that people in need get help. We especially encourage everyone wanting to donate money to follow our simple steps to check that they are donating to a registered charity. And we particularly urge people to consider a donation to the National Emergencies Trust campaign which is able to rapidly direct funds to frontline charities dealing with people’s urgent needs during this crisis.”

Lord Toby Harris, Chair of the Fundraising Regulator, said:

“Charities are a lifeline to many local communities and play a vital role in supporting people across the UK, particularly at a time of national crisis. In what is the most significant public health emergency in generations, we encourage the public to continue to give generously to charity throughout these difficult times. Unfortunately we have heard of some individuals who have used the uncertainty that surrounds the Coronavirus outbreak as a means of defrauding the public. A small number of people have posed as fundraisers who are carrying out door-to-door collections and street fundraising on behalf of fake charities, some are even offering to sell dubious COVID-19 testing kits. Please do not give to these individuals.

“We urge the public to think carefully before they donate to charity, and only do so if they can be sure their funds will go to a legitimate organisation. For more helpful advice on giving to charity safely, please read the Fundraising Regulator’s guidance here.”