Here are the questions you need to ask yourself before you start raising funds on an online fundraising platform.
- Are you fundraising for a charitable organisation, or for a personal cause?
- Have you been instructed to fundraise by a charitable organisation, or not?
- For which charitable organisation and for what purpose are you raising money?
- How will donations get to the charitable organisation?
If you are fundraising for a charitable organisation (other than a charity registered in Scotland), then the Fundraising Regulator will regulate your fundraising. If you are fundraising on behalf of charities registered in Scotland, it will be regulated by the Scottish Fundraising Adjudication Panel .
If you are not fundraising for a charitable organisation (for example, if you are raising funds for a member of your family or a friend in need), this will probably be considered personal cause fundraising. This type of activity is not regulated by the Fundraising Regulator, but you can follow this guidance to support your fundraising. We encourage you to make sure donors understand that your appeal is not for any charitable organisation before taking any donations.
If you have been instructed (asked or directed) to fundraise by a charitable organisation to fundraise:
- You and the organisation must follow our code to make sure that your fundraising is legal, open, honest and respectful.
If you are fundraising for a charitable organisation but the organisation has not instructed you to do so:
- We encourage you to state in your fundraising communication that you are fundraising ‘in aid of’ the organisation (see section 5.3 of the code).
- You will be responsible for all aspects of your fundraising activity (see section 5.3).
- We encourage you to follow the general fundraising behaviour standards in section 1 of the code to make sure your activity is in line with best practice.
Before you accept donations, you should be clear to donors about which charitable organisation you are fundraising for and how the organisation will use the money. This means, for example, that:
- You should include the name of the charitable organisation and, where possible, the registered charity number in all your fundraising communications.
- If you would like to set up an appeal to fund a specific area of an organisation’s work, you should speak with them first to make sure they can use the funds in the way you would like. Be aware that how the money is spent is a decision for the charitable organisation to take.
- You should state whether the funds will be used for either general charitable activities or a specific purpose.
- If you have set a target for your fundraising, you should tell donors from the beginning what will happen to any funds you raise over the original target.
- You should tell donors what will happen if you do not raise enough money, or if the original purpose you fundraised for cannot be achieved.
- If you are raising money for more than one charitable organisation, you should be clear on how money will be split between them.
- The online fundraising platform should inform donors of any fees (including tips) that the platform will charge before they donate.
The platform you are using might also have additional expectations in its terms and conditions. You should read these carefully when setting up your appeal.
You are responsible for making sure that donors know how their donations will reach the charitable organisation.
Online fundraising platforms will usually transfer funds to your chosen charity, either monthly or quarterly, or when your fundraising has reached a certain level. Platforms will tell you this either when you are setting up your appeal or in their terms and conditions. We encourage you to make this clear to donors so that they are confident their donations will go to the right place and will be used for the purpose they were given.
If the funds you raise do not go straight to the organisation, you should have arrangements in place to transfer the money quickly to the organisation.
What if I have questions about my fundraising activity?
If you have a question about the standards set out in the code, you can email the Fundraising Regulator at firstname.lastname@example.org.