Fundraising Regulator finds that 81% of complaints to it breached Code of Fundraising Practice

The vast majority (81%) of complaints about charities have been upheld, as the Fundraising Regulator publishes its latest Complaints Report. The Fundraising Regulator conducted a total of 78 investigations between 1 April 2017 and 31 August 2018 and found that 63 of the cases constituted a breach of the Code of Fundraising Practice – the standards expected of all charitable fundraising organisations in the UK.

The most common type of code breaches was about general principles and complaints, third-party fundraisers and personal data. Other areas investigated included: how charities monitor third-party fundraising agencies who work on their behalf, complaints handling, charity bags and the Fundraising Preference Service.

Fundraising Regulator finds that 81% of complaints to it breached Code of Fundraising Practice

The Fundraising Regulator reports a clear willingness and commitment from the organisations to make changes where Code breaches have been identified.

The 78 investigations were into a wide range of different fundraising activities and included both large and small organisations. 25 of the investigations were into charities that spend less than £150,000 per year on fundraising.

The Complaints Report also looked at complaints reported by the 58 charities who spent the most on fundraising. These charities reported receiving a total of 21,851 complaints from April 2017 to March 2018. Door-to-door fundraising was the largest complaint type, whilst addressed mail dropped to the second most popular complaint type. Other complaints centred around clothing collections, online fundraising and outdoor events.

The Complaints Report is a means by which the Fundraising Regulator can share examples of casework, provide analysis of the complaints received over the course of the year and illustrate learnings from their investigations.

Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator, Gerald Oppenheim, said:

“Our Complaints Report is vital to our understanding of fundraising standards in the UK and helps us inform our work. Complaints made by the public make an important contribution to the way we, charities and their fundraising partners learn from concerns and make improvements. We will continue to review and evaluate the complaints process and we look forward to working closely with charities to ensure high standards of fundraising practice are maintained.”

Michael Smyth, Chair of the Fundraising Regulator Complaints Committee, said:

“In a tricky year for fundraising, the sector has stayed resilient and demonstrated its commitment to self-regulation and transparency. There is still room for improvement in terms of how charities initially deal with complaints and manage third parties before issues are escalated to the Fundraising Regulator, but I have been reassured by the sector’s receptiveness to our recommendations and the willingness of charities to engage with the self-regulatory model.”