Coronavirus (COVID-19): Events and community fundraising guidance

This guidance is part of a series of resources produced by the Fundraising Regulator and Chartered Institute of Fundraising that aims to support charities and other fundraising organisations to be able to return to fundraising activities in a responsible way. By responsible fundraising, we mean that fundraising is carried out in a sensitive and safe way, in line with the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code) and current UK Government advice on Coronavirus. See guidance from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Before reading this guidance, read our over-arching COVID-19 guidance which includes what you should consider when adapting the way your organisation fundraises.

Status of this guidance

This guidance sets out a framework to aid good decision making and ensure responsible fundraising. It is intended to highlight relevant government regulations and advice (please see ‘guidance to read’ below) and identify additional considerations that organisations need to think about as they plan community fundraising events. In any instance where there is any contradiction between this guidance and government guidance, government guidance takes precedence. 

As the guidance is about responsible decision-making and planning, rather than a complete ‘how to manual’ for every single type of community and events fundraising activity, the guidance should be read and considered as part of your strategic decisions and future planning for community and events activity generally. 

Definitions

We use the terms ‘community fundraising events’ or ‘events’ throughout this guidance. We use these terms to cover the full range of charitable fundraising activities. The range of community and events fundraising is too wide and varied to be able to provide specific guidance for each type of activity (for example, sponsored runs, challenge events, quiz nights, summer fetes). Instead, as our approach is to provide a framework for key considerations and planning, this means it should be able to be applied to any community or events fundraising activity.

Legal responsibilities

It is the responsibility of individual organisations and their trustees to apply this guidance to their fundraising activity, so that the safety and wellbeing of fundraisers and the public are protected and any reputational risk to the charity is considered. Failure to comply with the law could lead to fines being issued, the reputation of the charity being damaged, and the health of attendees being put at risk. Therefore, it is essential that these decisions are properly managed and with appropriate oversight from the trustees.

Planning ahead in line with national restrictions and roadmaps

As lockdown restrictions are phased out in each UK nation, it is crucial that any planned fundraising event or community activity only takes place in a way that is consistent with the national restrictions and guidance. 

For information on national restrictions and plans for easing lockdown, go to Government guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In England, specific reference to the return of some charity fundraising events at stages of easing lockdown restrictions are set out here.

There are a number of points you should consider as you work across the stages or phases of lockdown easing. These include: 

  • The ‘earliest from’ date that the event could happen (recognising that these dates could change);
  • Whether the event is outdoors or indoors, and the different restrictions and risk control measures that apply to each (for example, ventilation and attendance numbers);
  • The number of people that could attend or be present at the event (this may be set at a maximum number such as 30, or related to the capacity of a venue, for example up to 50% of potential capacity);
  • The type of event that could be permitted (what activities are not subject to restrictions and deemed safe, such as sports);
  • All relevant Covid-secure measures that would need to be in place (for example, hand-washing, sanitiser face coverings);
  • Social distancing measures (for example, the 2-metre rule, or limits on numbers of people in separate groups).

In addition to working in line with relevant national guidance on easing lockdown restrictions in the months ahead, there are some key questions for fundraising organisations to consider as part of the decision-making process on planning for future events. These can help you decide whether you are ready to put the event on and ensure you are confident you can do so in a safe and responsible way:

  • Have you undertaken a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for your fundraising plans, addressing all relevant issues and setting out procedures to ensure that any activity can happen in a safe way?
  • Have you consulted your fundraising teams, and any relevant partners, to ensure that your teams, fundraisers, and volunteers are confident in knowing how to run the events safely and that they have the right training, equipment, and time to prepare?
  • Have your plans to return to community and events fundraising been made following discussions with all relevant teams, and that decisions have been made with contribution from senior teams/trustees as appropriate? 
  • Have you considered the public mood and the likely appetite and reception from your supporters/participants/attendees for this type of activity? Have you assessed the interest of your supporters in attending or participating in the event you have in mind?
  • Have you discussed your plans with the venue/site where you are planning to put on your event to make sure that it is appropriate for the activity planned and that all necessary preparatory health and safety steps can be taken? Have you seen the relevant procedures and risk assessments they have in place?
  • Have you planned your event with flexibility in mind? Have you put in place contingency measures if you need to cancel, postpone, or adapt your activity? How would you communicate any changes to supporters?
  • Do you have appropriate insurance cover as needed for the activity?
  • How will you ensure that you are aware of any new and updated guidance (for example, on social distancing) is incorporated into the planned activity?

Risk assessment

For all fundraising events, obligations under wider health and safety legislation continue to apply, for example requirements to carry out risk assessments. Event organisers should also take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus in line with the risk assessment carried out and ensure they follow the latest government guidance which is relevant to their event. HSE has details of how to complete a risk assessment here. You must share the results of your risk assessment with your staff and volunteers. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with over 50 workers to do so).

Further guidance

Guidance which can help you plan for a safe and responsible return to community and events fundraising includes: 

In addition to this if you are organising: 

Community fundraising events can be held in a variety of places. You may also like to consult the following guidance depending on where you are planning to hold your event: 

Additional considerations when running a community fundraising event

  • Check that the right licences and permissions remain valid. If you are fundraising in a public place (such as a park) or on another organisation’s premises, make sure that you have permission to fundraise there and that you comply with all conditions and safety measures required. Pay particular attention to any hygiene/cleaning procedures that are relevant and make sure that you have covered them in your risk assessment to identify mitigation measures.
  • Disability access and anti-discrimination practices. It is a legal requirement for charities and third-party fundraisers to consider issues of equal access for all. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic you should consider how to best support attendees, particularly if some people may be particularly vulnerable to the virus. You should be reviewing your policies and practices as well as your training for staff and volunteers. 
  • Make contingency plans for people who contract the virus. There is always the risk that members of staff or volunteers could contract COVID-19. Think about contingency plans for this possibility, such as whether other staff can safely cover the community fundraising activity or event, how work could be handed over effectively and whether the activity needs to be postponed or cancelled.
  • Clearly set out expectations from third-party organisations. If your event is organised by a third-party, you are still responsible for ensuring the safety of the people in attendance of the event. As well as the standards set out in section 7 of the code regarding professional fundraisers, commercial participators and partners, section 11.10 of the code also states that you must have an agreement with the event organiser which sets out specific responsibilities and risk. Agreements must include any additional requirements or adjustments needed as a result of COVID-19 and you should also be asking third-party organisations to share their own risk assessments with you. 
  • Review methods for exchanging items. Any activity which involves an exchange of items, such as printed materials, a ‘thank you’ (for example, a badge or sticker) or a sales transaction, should only be done in a way that is safe. Where items are offered in exchange for support, only do this where it can be collected from an appropriate distance and with hygiene measures in place (for example, through the availability of hand sanitiser). Preference should be given to providing any item at a later date, by post, or electronically.
  • Handle donations safely. As with any transaction, care should be taken over how money is handled and you should minimise physical transactions. If possible, charities should promote the use of digital payments. If cash is to be collected on the day, secure collecting buckets and boxes should be used, and social distancing must be observed. Hand sanitiser should be available, and the collecting buckets and boxes must be kept clean. Any cash donations that have been collected should be left in a safe or secure place for 72 hours before the sealed containers or collecting boxes are opened, cash is handled and counted. Regardless of the means of collecting and processing donations, charities and third-party fundraisers must continue to meet the standards in section 4 of the code when fundraising. 

Test and Trace

In England, there is a legal requirement for venues and premises to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff.

You must ask every customer or visitor to scan the NHS QR code using their NHS COVID-19 app or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member of the group. This is to ensure everyone receives the necessary public health advice in a timely manner.

Hospitality facilities (including restaurants, cafes or bars within other types of venue) are legally required to refuse entry to those who refuse to check in or provide their contact details. 

If this applies to your facility, you need to keep these records for 21 days and make them available when requested by NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials, to help contain clusters or outbreaks. 

You must also display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details.

This is a legal requirement and failure to comply is punishable by fines. 

You can find more information in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

What you must do:

  1. Ask every customer or visitor to provide their name and contact details. 
  2. Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day, and their contact details. 
  3. Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested. 
  4. Display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option, as an alternative to providing their contact details. However, you must still have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who do not have access to a smartphone. 
  5. Ensure you manage this information in line with data protection regulations.

You can find out more about these requirements in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

PCR Tests

Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests can be taken in two ways:

  1. An assisted test is where the person takes the test themselves under the supervision of a trained operator, and this operator processes the test, reads and reports the result.
  2. A home (self-reported) test is where a person takes the test by themselves and reads and reports their own result.

If your assisted LFD test result is positive

If your Lateral Flow Test was an assisted test, you must self-isolate immediately. You could be fined if you do not do this. You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to self-isolate. 

You should also take a follow-up PCR test as soon as possible. If you fail to take one within the next 2 days, you and your contacts may need to isolate for the full 10 days whatever the follow-up result.

Whilst waiting for your follow-up PCR test result you and your household members should follow this guidance. If you take the PCR test within 2 days of the LFT and receive a negative result, you and your household can stop self-isolating. However, you and your household must continue to self-isolate if:

  • this PCR test result is positive
  • you choose not to take a follow-up PCR test
  • you receive a negative PCR test result but the test was taken more than 2 days after the LFT.

It is important to book your follow-up PCR test as soon as you can following your positive LFT result.

If your home (self-reported) LFD test result is positive

If your LFT was taken at home (self-reported), you should self-isolate immediately. You and your household members should follow all this guidance. You should also take a follow-up PCR test as soon as possible. If the follow-up PCR test result is negative, you and your household contacts can stop self-isolating.