Annual Complaints Report 2020/21

The Fundraising Regulator’s Annual Complaints Report analyses complaints made to the Fundraising Regulator and complaints received by a sample of the UK’s largest fundraising charities between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021.

Download the Annual Complaints Report 2020/21

Key findings

Part 1: Complaints received by the Fundraising Regulator

  • In 2020/21, we closed 362 in-remit complaints about charitable fundraising and we completed 13 investigations. These figures are down on the previous year, although the total number of incoming complaints (including in-remit and out of remit) is up. 
  • We found that COVID-19 was the primary theme in only 27 complaints received by the Fundraising Regulator.
  • For the third year in a row, charity bags were the most complained about method of fundraising to the Fundraising Regulator, receiving 105 complaints in 2020/21. The second most complained about method was digital and the third was addressed mail. 
  • The most common cause of complaint across all fundraising methods received by the Fundraising Regulator was misleading information. 
  • Lottery fundraising was an emerging method that more people are beginning to complain to us about.

Part 2: Complaints reported by a sample of large charities 

  • Charities reported receiving a total of 17,800 complaints, which was down by 4% on the figure reported last year.
  • Online fundraising received the most complaints (5,836); this method of fundraising has seen a 357% increase in complaints over the past three years. It is the first time in the history of this report that online fundraising is the most complained about method reported by charities.
  • Addressed mail (3,687) and corporate fundraising (2,504) were the second and third most complained about methods respectively. 
  • We saw a drop in both activity levels and complaints received for methods of fundraising that involved in-person contact. 

Download the Annual Complaints Report 2020/21