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Business Plan 2020/21

1. Introduction

Our Business Plan for 2020/21 has been developed in the context of our Strategic Plan 2018-22 which sets out our role, vision, mission and values, longer-term outcomes and strategic priorities. Having extended our initial Strategic Plan for 2018-21 by an extra year, during this coming year we will develop a new plan for 2022 onwards.

This Business Plan focuses on governance, objectives that we aim to deliver within the year and resources. Several actions have been rolled forward from last year’s plan following the interruption to progress caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020.

2. Constitution and governance

The Fundraising Regulator is the independent regulator of charitable fundraising in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We stand up for best practice in fundraising, in order to protect donors and support the vital work of fundraisers.

We work in partnership with other regulators and representative bodies in the charitable and fundraising sectors to build public confidence and ensure consistent fundraising standards across the UK.

We are governed by a non-executive board of directors. The Board is supported by recommendations from three committees: Standards; Complaints and Investigations; and Finance, Audit and Risk. Board members are recruited through open competition, and have expertise in regulation, the law, fundraising, finance and the charitable sector. The Board includes a member for Wales and one for Northern Ireland. The committees are made up of Board members and external co-optees. Annex A provides more detail on the composition of the Board and committees.

We will continue to work closely with the organisations with which we have agreed Memorandums of Understanding:

  • Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCE&W)
  • Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI)
  • Chartered Institute of Fundraising (IoF)
  • Gambling Commission 
  • Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
  • Office for Students
  • Regulator of Community Interest Companies
  • Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel

Other organisations we work with regularly include:

  • Arts Council England
  • Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO)
  • Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE)
  • National Council for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA)
  • National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO)
  • Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA)
  • Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR)
  • Small Charities Coalition
  • Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)

3. Objectives

Our objectives flow from the strategic outcomes and priorities set out in our Strategic Plan 2018-22

The scheme of voluntary fundraising regulation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is funded by the Fundraising Levy. The cost is shared among those organisations who conduct the most fundraising activity (spending more than £100,000 on fundraising per year). 

We are aware that, because of the pandemic, some fundraising organisations are facing difficult financial decisions. We are anticipating that some may merge, and others may close. Due to the increased difficulty in predicting income for the year, this business plan includes two sets of priorities. Those listed as ‘core’ will be delivered and include ‘business as usual’ targets. If levy income is greater than predicted, then some of the ‘additional’ work will also be prioritised for delivery.

Decisions about the scope of any ‘additional’ work will be made in December 2020. 

Improve fundraising standards (outcome 1)

Core

In 2020/21 we will continue to:

  • maintain and promote the Code of Fundraising Practice; and
  • publish guidance to support fundraising organisations to meet the standards we set.

In 2020/21 we will:

  • review charities’ audited accounts for compliance with Section 13 of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 (target Q3); and
  • continue to review the operation of the levy in anticipation of the new Strategic Plan (target Q4). 

Operate the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) and support compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (outcome 2)

Core

In 2020/21 we will continue to:

  • support charities to comply with data protection law; and
  • publish the names of charities that have not accessed their FPS suppressions. 

In 2020/21 we will:

  • aim to increase awareness of the FPS, particularly amongst those in vulnerable circumstances (target Q2); 
  • consider the outcomes of the independent review on the effectiveness of the FPS (target Q2); and
  • aim to ensure that 100% of charities collect suppressions made through the FPS (ongoing).

Additional

  • Implement changes to the FPS in line with the outcomes of the independent review on its effectiveness (target Q2); and
  • increase marketing of the FPS to people who might benefit from it and/or want to use it.

Provide effective casework handling (outcome 3)

Core

In 2020/21 we will continue to:

  • provide an open and accessible complaints service for the public and encourage charities to signpost to our service on their websites; 
  • continue to conduct proactive casework on matters of concern;
  • aim to complete 90% of casework within four weeks of receipt and 90% of investigations within 16 weeks of receipt;
  • aim to secure 100% compliance with the recommendations arising from casework; and
  • publish the Annual Complaints Report (target Q1).

In addition, we will also: 

  • seek views on the future of the annual survey of complaints reported by the sector (target Q2); and
  • review our casework function and develop our approach to include preventative measures, monitoring of compliance and a more proactive assurance model.

Provide support, guidance and research (outcome 4)

Core

In 2020/21 we will continue to:

  • provide one-to-one advice to fundraisers and the public through a dedicated enquiry service;
  • support the sector to improve by sharing learning from our work; 
  • pilot different ways of providing advice, guidance and support (for example, webinars and videos); and
  • explore opportunities to support small charities spending under £100,000 on fundraising.

We will also:

  • review our guidance and develop more information for members of the public (target Q4); and 
  • explore whether any further support is needed so that fundraisers ensure people in vulnerable circumstances are protected (target Q4).

Additional

  • Conduct research with the sector to hear their views on fundraising regulation (target Q3); and
  • improve the public Directory of charities that pay the levy or are registered with us to make it easier for the public to use and understand.

Communicate effectively about our regulation (outcome 5)

Core

In 2020/21 we will continue to:

  • issue alerts to the sector when urgent regulatory messages or warnings need to be shared;
  • promote our role and the importance of our regulation to charities and the public in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; 
  • continue to engage with the public and sector, and make ourselves accessible to listen to their views; 
  • continue to collaborate and work with other regulators and membership organisations; and
  • publish the Annual Report and Accounts and hold a public meeting (target Q2).

We will also:

  • review the Fundraising Badge – the logo which shows charities are registered with the Fundraising Regulator – including how it is issued and suspended or removed (target Q1);
  • review our communications strategy (target Q2);
  • aim to achieve 3,000 registrations by small fundraising charities, including a proportionate number in Wales and Northern Ireland (target Q4); and
  • aim to achieve 80% renewal rate from current small charity registrants (target Q4). 

Additional

  • Increase public awareness of what the Fundraising Badge means;
  • further develop the website to improve accountability and to make it easier for the public to use; and
  • participate in more events held by other sector and governmental bodies to explain more widely the work that we do.

We will report on our performance against these objectives in our Annual Report 2020/21.

4. Resources

Our income derives primarily from a voluntary Fundraising Levy on larger fundraising organisations and a registration system for smaller charities and fundraising agencies. We remain committed to continuously assessing value for money across all areas of our work. 

Around 2,000 charities are in scope of the levy, which is based on a scale of payments for all charities spending £100,000 or more on fundraising per year. Smaller charities spending less than £100,000 a year on fundraising pay £50 a year to register with us. All organisations that commit publicly to meeting the Fundraising Promise and Code of Fundraising Practice, and pay the relevant fee, can display the Fundraising Badge. 

Our budget for 2020/21 (levy year five) was forecast in the three-year Strategic Plan to increase to £2.2m to meet the costs of inflationary increases and expand our proactive activity. However, given the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fundraising sector, we have decided to start the year based on a cautious budget of £1.8m. We will look to increase the budget to £2m if collection of levy income is maintained at close to previous levels. 

A budget of £1.8m is considerably below the £2.5m income envisaged by the Cross-Party Parliamentary Review but is sufficient for us to maintain our core activities at this time. Income at a higher level would mean that, in addition to our core regulatory activities, we would be able to put more resources into project-based activity.

The budget for 2020/21 is included in Annex B.

Our staffing costs constitute a substantial part of our expenditure. We currently have 21 staff working in four teams – Casework; Communications and Corporate Services; Finance and Procurement; and Policy (see Annex C). 

Our commitment to offering value for money means we look to regulate in a way that is as efficient and effective as possible. This includes making sure our workforce remains skilled and supported to do their work. Last year we acted on the feedback from our staff survey. However, we have not been able to take forward all the outcomes as they are dependent on further expenditure, which we have restricted for the time being.

5. Annex A: Board and committees

List of Board members.

List of committee members.

6. Annex B: Budget

Proposed budget for 2020/21 compared to the budget for 2019/20.

Budget for 2020/21

Total: £1,781,000

Chart showing budget for 2020/21.

Budget for 2019/20

Total: £2,152,000

Chart showing budget for 2019/20.

7. Annex C: Staffing structure

Diagram showing staff structure for 2020/21.