The Coronavirus pandemic has brought unprecedented change to almost all areas of everyday life. This includes the way that charities fundraise in public, such as on local high streets and at your door. When lockdown measures were introduced, charities rightly took the decision to pause their public fundraising activities.
As restrictions start to ease across the UK, paused public fundraising activity is beginning to resume. Charities are, however, adapting the way they fundraise in public to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and the public. If you’d like to know more about the measures we’ve advised charities to put in place, you can read our guidance for charities here.
The following information is intended to help you know what to expect from fundraisers that are fundraising in a public place.
1. Keeping the public, staff and volunteers safe
All fundraising must be done in a way that is sensitive, safe and responsible. All activities need to be carried out in-line with the latest Government advice in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, depending where the fundraising is taking place. Social distancing requirements must be observed and the standards that we set for fundraising through the Code of Fundraising Practice must be met.
To ensure the safety of the public, staff and volunteers, you can expect fundraisers to have adapted the way they work in several ways:
- Fundraisers will maintain an appropriate distance from members of the public at all times. For example, they may use markings or signage to clearly set out the appropriate distance people should be from each other.
- They won’t be fundraising in enclosed areas where social distancing cannot be maintained (such as blocks of flats, or narrow streets and walkways). Fundraisers will always give way to members of the public to let them pass. If a fundraiser knocks on your door, they will move back and maintain social distancing throughout the conversation.
- Fundraisers will not shout to attract your attention, and if they need to move closer to you (whilst maintaining social distancing) they will let you know in advance.
- Fundraisers will be using hand sanitiser frequently and they may ask you to use it before and after touching any object (such as a pen or a tablet). When a fundraising activity requires the exchange of items, you will be able to collect these items from an appropriate distance. If you are required to fill out information, this will be done in a safe and secure way, for example, tablets may be available on stands placed at an appropriate distance, which are cleaned before and after use.
- You can expect to see information on fundraisers’ ID badges displayed in larger text to help you read it at a distance.
2. Planning behind the scenes and improving their approach to fundraising
To make sure that your safety and wellbeing comes first, organisations and charities who fundraise will have planned their activity carefully and carried out risk assessments. Fundraisers will be asking for feedback from the public and responding to what they hear as they review their fundraising activities and work in order to improve and adapt them.
3. Being respectful
Fundraising must always be carried out in a polite, respectful and honest way, and you should never feel pressure to donate. Fundraisers must never continue to ask for support or a donation if you have said no or indicated that you do not want to continue to speak to them. You can expect the fundraiser to respect your privacy and end conversations in a polite way.
Although many people will be keen to donate at this time, others will be experiencing financial difficulties, anxiety or grief. Fundraisers will be adapting to the signals and needs of any individual they interact with.
4. Being transparent and responsive
Fundraisers will be ready to explain to you why they are fundraising and the steps they have taken to ensure it is being done responsibly and safely. Fundraisers will be able to provide you with information on how they are fundraising responsibly and this information will also be made publicly available by organisations and charities who fundraise (for example, by putting this information on their websites).
5. Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Under current Government advice, fundraisers aren’t required to wear PPE. However, face coverings are mandatory on public transport, in shops and in other settings in England and Scotland. Government guidance on PPE and face covering differs across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can expect fundraisers to be following the latest Government guidance in the country they are fundraising in, and to be wearing face coverings in situations where they are mandatory.
Enquiries, concerns and complaints
The Fundraising Regulator regulates registered charities and other fundraising organisations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you have a question about fundraising, you can either contact the fundraising organisation directly or you can get in touch with us by clicking here to complete our enquiries form, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 0300 999 3407.
If you have a complaint about a fundraising activity, as a first step we usually advise you to contact the fundraising organisation directly. This gives them a chance to resolve the complaint themselves. But if you’re not happy with their response or if you don’t get a response within four weeks, you can bring your complaint to us. For more information regarding our complaints process, click here.