Section 13 of the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Act 2016 (the Act) requires charities in England and Wales with an income of over £1 million to provide statements on specific areas of their fundraising in their annual report, which is submitted to the Charity Commission for England and Wales. These statements cover key aspects of a charity’s fundraising activity, including:
- the approach taken to fundraising
- whether the charity is subject to any regulation
- how it monitors fundraisers
- the number of fundraising complaints received; and
- steps taken to make sure vulnerable people are protected.
Charities with an income of below £1 million do not have a legal duty to meet these requirements. However, we consider it good practice for all charities that produce an annual report to include these statements. This promotes openness and transparency and gives assurance to the reader that key issues, such as protecting vulnerable people, are being addressed.
There is no one way to report comprehensively on the requirements and most charities will have their own house style when writing reports which appeals to their key audiences. This guidance is not intended to be prescriptive, rather it is to help charities to understand the importance of reporting on the requirements alongside meeting their legal duties.
Throughout this guidance we will use:
- ‘must’ to indicate something that needs to be done to comply with the Act; and
- ‘should’ to indicate best practice in reporting.
What are the requirements and how do I meet them?
the approach taken by the charity to activities by the charity or by any person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising, and in particular whether a professional fund-raiser or commercial participator carried on any of those activities
To meet this requirement, charities must explain their approach to particular fundraising activities, including:
- the types of fundraising you have carried out (for example, door-to-door, private site or street fundraising); and
- whether any third parties were involved in fundraising (such as professional fundraisers, commercial participators or volunteers).
If all your fundraising has been carried out by in-house fundraisers employed directly by the charity, then this should be clearly stated.
whether the charity or any person acting on behalf of the charity was subject to an undertaking to be bound by any voluntary scheme for regulating fund-raising, or any voluntary standard of fund-raising, in respect of activities on behalf of the charity, and, if so, what scheme or standard
Charities must set out what voluntary schemes or standards for regulating fundraising they follow.
- If you are registered with the Fundraising Regulator, you must state this.
- If you are not registered with the Fundraising Regulator, you must state whether your charity or any third-party fundraisers or commercial partners are bound to any other voluntary regulation schemes for fundraising.
Charities should include in the statement:
- how you comply with the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code); and
- how it supports your charity’s fundraising activities (for example, if the code is used when training and supporting volunteer fundraisers).
any failure to comply with a scheme or standard mentioned under paragraph (b)
Charities must explain any failure to comply with a voluntary scheme or standard. If your charity or a fundraiser acting ‘on behalf of’ of your organisation did not comply with any voluntary scheme or standard, including recommendations from an investigation by the Fundraising Regulator, as set out by requirement (b), your annual report should clearly state:
- the details of what happened
- what the scheme or standard was
- the timescales; and
- any outcomes.
You should explain to your supporters what the compliance issue was and what actions have been put in place to mitigate any future risks.
Charities with an annual fundraising expenditure of above £100,000 are subject to voluntary annual Fundraising Levy payments to register with the Fundraising Regulator. This means that all charities that have fundraising expenditures above £100,000, but do not pay the levy, fail to comply with a voluntary scheme or standard. To meet requirement (c), such charities must explain why they do not pay the levy.
If there were no compliance issues with a scheme or fundraising standard, you should add a simple statement to explain this.
whether the charity monitored activities carried on by any person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising, and, if so, how it did so
‘On behalf of’ fundraising can include third-party fundraisers, commercial participators and volunteers. Charities must report on how they monitor activities carried out by these types of fundraisers.
This section should include information on:
- who fundraises on behalf of your charity
- what training and support you provide to these fundraisers
- how you monitor the work and what methods you use to ensure that standards are maintained; and
- how you manage contracts with external fundraisers.
If you have not worked with any ‘on behalf of’ fundraisers in the past 12 months, you should state this.
the number of complaints received by the charity or a person acting on its behalf about activities by the charity or by a person on behalf of the charity for the purpose of fund-raising
This statement must contain the specific number of complaints received by the charity in the last financial year. Without stating this number, a charity could appear to not have the appropriate systems in place to record and report on the complaints it has received with regards to fundraising.
Charities should use this statement as an opportunity to explain how you listen to supporters and react accordingly. Some charities choose to outline their complaints policies and report on the actions that they have taken in response to complaints. This helps to build public trust that complaints are taken seriously.
If you have received no complaints in the past 12 months, then this should be reported.
Refer to our complaints handling guidance for charities and third party fundraising organisations for more information about how complaints are defined and how we expect organisations to handle the complaints they receive.
what the charity has done to protect vulnerable people and other members of the public from behaviour within subsection (2) in the course of, or in connection with, such activities.
Charities must state what they have done to protect vulnerable people and other members of the public from:
- unreasonable intrusions on their privacy
- unreasonably persistent approaches for money or other property; and
- placing undue pressure on a person to give money or other property.
It is important to set out clearly the charity’s policies and procedures in this area and to show an understanding of the relevant sections of the code (as set out in section one). For example, when interacting with others, fundraisers need to ensure that they treat people fairly and with respect, explain the cause in a way which does not mislead people, and be sensitive to people who may be in vulnerable circumstances.
With this in mind, your statement should include:
- what training you provide for staff and volunteers to consider what vulnerability means and how to recognise and protect vulnerable people
- how this translates into fundraising activities
- how you monitor and review these policies and procedures; and
- how you mitigate the risks of fundraising with vulnerable people.
Why has this guidance been developed?
In July 2022, we reviewed charities’ compliance with the fundraising reporting requirements in the Act. We examined the annual reports of 10% (157 of 1,566) of charities registered with the Fundraising Regulator with an annual income above £1 million and within the scope of the levy (‘levy-payers’).
We also reviewed the annual reports of the 41 charities that have an annual income above £1 million but either actively refused to pay the levy or did not respond to invoices to pay and follow-up reminders (‘levy-refusers’). We looked at the extent to which each report addressed all the statements set out in the Act and how they did this.
In summary, we found many instances of good practice, and reporting had generally improved since the last time we conducted a review. However, many charities were still not complying with the Act’s requirements. Read the full findings for more information.
This guidance has been developed to help charities understand where there are common gaps in reporting, and what they can do to meet the requirements and be compliant with the Act.
Who is responsible for compliance?
It is ultimately the responsibility of trustees to make sure their charity is compliant with the Act.
Trustees should be aware that the Charity Commission for England and Wales’ guidance charity fundraising: a guide to trustee duties (CC20) states that the Commission expects charities to fully comply with accounting and reporting obligations. Failure to do so might result in regulatory action being taken by the Commission against the charity. Trustees need to understand why the requirements are important and ensure the annual report includes all the information necessary to meet the requirements.
Importantly, when considering public trust in fundraising, it is essential that charities communicate how they are fundraising safely and in line with standards and expected behaviours.
How should I approach the writing?
It is important that statements are written accessibly. They should be clear and include relevant detail. Based on our review, we have highlighted some points to consider when writing the statements.
Reporting on requirements in one section
There is no set place within the annual report that charities have to include their reporting against requirements, but our review found that 76% of reports did this all in one section. Keeping statements together in one section makes it easier for the reader to locate and understand the information.
Providing enough information
Statements must include sufficient detail to meet the requirements of the Act. Although you can be compliant with the Act by providing satisfactory information, your annual report is an important opportunity to tell your fundraising story to your supporters. By giving more details about what you are doing and why, the report may help to generate even more support for the important work your charity does.
Many supporters will also want to know where you have made mistakes and what you have learnt from them. Being transparent and clear about your fundraising activity will help to build trust in your organisation.
Report on all requirements
Only 33% of levy-paying charities included a statement on all the Act’s requirements and 9% reported on none of them. Amongst levy-refusing charities, just 13% reported on all requirements, whilst 32% reported on none of them.
By not including statements on all the reporting requirements, you will fail to meet your legal duties. You may also leave your charity open to doubts from supporters about whether you are following best practice.
In summary, reporting on all the requirements set out in the Act is not only a legal duty for many charities, but is a good way for any charity to explain their fundraising procedures and activity to supporters and other key audiences.
If you have questions on this guidance or the findings of our review, please contact the policy team for advice using our online form, calling 0300 999 3407 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.