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Charity guide

Giving Safely: A guide to making sure your donations really count’ is the title of advice on how to avoid potential scams and how to ensure that your donations really do reach the good causes you wish to support.



The guide is the latest effort by the FAP to support the voluntary sector in tackling fraud – which is estimated to cost charities £1.1 billion. Produced as part of a joint National Fraud Authority and Charity Commission project to reduce fraud against the sector, the guide is aimed at individual charitable donors in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is hoped that charities will embrace the guide and make it available to donors.


Rosalind Wright, Chair of the Fraud Advisory Panel, says: “These are tough times for charities because they are tough times for their donors. Every penny counts. The good work charities do is more important than ever and it is vital that donors have the confidence to keep on giving.


“The vast majority of charitable appeals and collections are legitimate, but fraud can and does creep in. Fake collections, misleading emails and letters, bogus websites, high-pressure phone calls: these things can poison the culture of giving, undermining the relationship between real charities and their donors. This new guidance is designed to support donors in a straightforward and practical way so that they can keep on giving, confident that their money is hitting the spot. After all, the most important message of all to donors is still “please don?t stop giving.”


Charity sector organisations, law enforcement, and other regulatory and professional bodies have all co-operated with the production of the guide – including the three charity regulators. The guide can be downloaded from the FAP?s website in leaflet form or as a series of targeted posters covering doorstep giving, street collections and making donations online.


The new guidance does not provide legal advice for charities on the regulatory requirements that they must meet in respect of fundraising activities. Charities should refer to the websites of the relevant charity regulator(s) and to their professional associations or trade bodies. In 2009 the FAP compiled a UK survey of the impact of fraud on charitable organisations (‘Breach of Trust: an investigation into the incidence, origins and impact of fraud in the charitable sector’).


Charities, like other types of organisation, can be vulnerable to criminal and terrorist abuse. According to the Charity Commission, proven instances of terrorist involvement or association in the charitable sector are low in comparison to the size of the sector. However, the regulator adds that any such abuse is completely unacceptable and corrodes public confidence in charities. Charities therefore need to ensure they are not at risk.


The Commission’s Counter-terrorism Strategy which is also in summary form explains its role and approach for dealing with concerns about the abuse of charities for terrorist purposes and its strategy for tackling the risk of terrorist abuse in the charitable sector. All charity trustees need to be vigilant about the potential risks from terrorism, and ensure that their charity’s premises, assets, staff, volunteers or other resources cannot be used for activities that may, or appear to, support or condone terrorist activities.


Whatever the charity, its size, activities and areas of operation, those with strong governance arrangements, financial controls and risk management policies and procedures that fit their needs will be better safeguarded against a range of potential abuse, including terrorist abuse.


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