Annual complaints report 2019/20

This is the fourth year in which we have reported on the key themes arising from our casework and complaints reported by the charity sector.

Through the Annual Complaints Report, we share examples of our casework, provide analysis of complaints reported by charities and share learnings from our investigations. 

The report is split into two parts:

  • Part 1: Complaints received by the Fundraising Regulator between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2020
  • Part 2: Complaints reported by the charity sector between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020.

The data in part one includes complaints made during the early stages of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and national lockdown period, which began to impact fundraising from mid-March 2020. For part two, the different reporting period means this includes very few complaints impacted by the pandemic.

Key findings

Part 1: Complaints received by the Fundraising Regulator

  • We received a total of 836 complaints, which is a 13% increase on the total number received in the previous year. 
  • The most complained about methods of fundraising were charity bags, online fundraising and face-to-face fundraising. 
  • Some of the themes highlighted by these complaints were providing misleading information, applying undue pressure to donate and poor complaints handling.

Part 2: Complaints reported by a sample of large charities

  • The total number of complaints reported by the 56 charities was 18,569. 
  • The most complained about methods of fundraising were addressed mail, door-to-door fundraising and outdoor events.
  • Volunteer fundraising, street fundraising and social activities were the most ‘high risk’ methods of fundraising, as they generated the most complaints proportionate to the volume of activity that is carried out.

10 December 2020: updated with minor amends for case study on handling complaints (pg 12) and corrections to data in part 2 of the report, including fig 5, 10, 17 and 18. These updates do not change the material substance of the findings. 

Download your copy of the Annual Complaints Report 2019/20