Webinar: Introduction to the code

As part of our commitment to support organisations to meet the fundraising standards in the Code of Fundraising Practice, we have produced this webinar to help you understand what the code is, who it applies to, what the code covers and how to use the code, both online and offline.

Click the play button to view the video

Subtitles are available. Please click the subtitles/closed captions (cc) button in the embedded video to display.

The Fundraising Regulator maintains and upholds the Code of Fundraising Practice which sets out the responsibilities that apply to fundraising carried out by charitable institutions and third-party fundraisers in the UK. 

If you are an employee, trustee or volunteer for a fundraising organisation in the UK, you should familiarise yourself with the code.

This webinar may be especially helpful for those new to fundraising, as an introduction to the fundraising standards. Charities are welcome to use this material as part of their induction and training.

Welcome to the first in our new webinar series 'Understanding the Code of Fundraising Practice’. This video has been produced by the Fundraising Regulator the independent regulator of charitable fundraising in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

By the end of this video, you should have an understanding of: 

  • what the code is;
  • who it applies to;
  • what the code covers; and,
  • how to use the code, online and offline.

The Fundraising Regulator maintains and upholds the Code of Fundraising Practice. A code of practice is a set of standards, which explains how people working in a particular profession should behave. The code sets out the responsibilities that apply to fundraising carried out by charitable institutions and third-party fundraisers in the UK. 

So what is the code?

The code aims to: 

  • promote a consistent, high standard of fundraising;
  • make sure charities and fundraisers know what’s expected of them;
  • set out the standards we use when considering complaints;
  • and provide a benchmark for organisations and fundraisers to assess their practices against.

So, who does the code apply to? 

We define fundraising as asking for money or other property for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes. You can fundraise for your own organisation or be authorised to ask for donations on behalf of another, for example, if you’re a professional agency or commercial partner. The code also applies to other organisations that carry out fundraising such as online fundraising platforms.

If you are an employee, trustee or volunteer for an organisation that fundraises and your organisation is based in the UK - the code applies to you.

If you are a charitable institution or a third party fundraiser, you must make sure you meet the standards in the code and must be able to justify the decisions you make. You must make your staff and volunteers aware of the standards and adequately train and monitor them if the standards are relevant to their responsibilities.

The following four values support all standards in the code.

  • All fundraising must meet the requirements of the law.
  • Fundraisers must be open with the public about their processes and must be willing to explain (where appropriate) if they are asked for more information.
  • Fundraisers must act with integrity and must not mislead the public about the cause they are fundraising for or the way a donation will be used.
  • Fundraisers must demonstrate respect whenever they have contact with any member of the public.

The standards are structured in three parts:

  • Part 1 – standards which apply to all fundraising, such as behaviour, the responsibilities of trustees, processing personal data and donations.
  • Part 2 – standards which apply to working with others, such as volunteers, children and commercial participators.
  • Part 3 – standards which apply to specific fundraising methods, like events or legacy fundraising.

It’s important to note, that whilst we’ve said all fundraising must meet the requirements of the law, and the code includes standards that reflect the law, it is not designed to be a legal handbook. You are responsible for making sure that you get the advice you need to meet the requirements you have to meet by law. If there is a difference between the code and the relevant legislation or regulations, you must follow the law rather than the code.

The code is available online on the Fundraising Regulator’s website. Let’s click through to see what’s in Part 1.

The left hand navigation menu is static on the page so that as you scroll up and down you will still see the navigation options, making it easier to move around the code. And here you can also click to navigate to the relevant section.

Let’s click through to section 4.

On the top right hand corner of each page, there are quick links to Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as email and printing options. This will help you to share relevant information with colleagues and others quickly. You can see at the top we introduce what the section is about, and as you scroll down, you come to the specific standards.

  • The purple box at the top sets out who we mean by ‘you’ in this section.
  • Where must or must not is in bold, this indicates a standard based on a strict legal requirement.
  • Where a word appears in the glossary this is indicated with a dotted line – if you click on the glossary term a box will open containing the glossary definition.
  • When you see a blue line running down the left hand side of a standard this tells you that the standard relates to a specific country.
  • In this pink and grey box you can see we’ve hyperlinked to other parts of the code where relevant and at the end in the pink and grey box we link to external legislation and guidance.
  • At the bottom of each page, you can see the date the code is effective from.

We also have a PDF version of the code. You can find it here on the code homepage. We have an English and a Welsh version. The PDF is exactly the same as in the online version of the code, just with a few differences in design treatments.

  • If you scroll down, you can see here on page 19 in the PDF that links to other standards are in these boxes with a pink outline.
  • Also, we have links to further guidance in these light pink boxes and regional differences are highlighted in grey boxes.

So to sum up: the code sets out the responsibilities that apply to fundraising carried out by charitable institutions and third-party fundraisers in the UK.

If you are an employee, trustee or volunteer for a fundraising organisation in the UK, you should familiarise yourself with the code. You can do this online or by downloading the PDF – just remember if you print a copy of the PDF to check the version you have to hand is the most up to date.

Thank you for watching. 

This video has been produced by the Fundraising Regulator, the independent regulator of all fundraising in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more advice and guidance about fundraising, please visit our website or phone our enquiries line.