21st Nov 2019

Did you know there is plenty of guidance to help charities, fundraisers, and trustees make important decisions about acceptance refusal or return of donations?

Charity Commission guidance outlines the legal principles that Trustees need to know, goes through the questions that you will need to think about, and provides practical help and advice so that you can make the right decision for your charity.

Trustees have a legal duty to consider which course of action will be in the charity’s overall best interests, including the issue of accepting or refusing donations.

The law allows practical and ethical factors to be taken into account when considering donations.

While it is true that the more money a charity has, the more they can do; there can be times when it is right for a charity not to accept certain donations or to return those that have already been given.

There are recorded cases where charitable giving has been used to facilitate criminal activity such as money laundering and so it is important to know where any donations are coming from. Additional issues to consider include whether vulnerable persons have the capacity to donate.

It is therefore wise to operate in line with the following ‘know your donor’ principles as set out by the Charity Commission here

Regardless of how you are collecting money, suitable controls should be put in place for handling the money. It may also be prudent to consider if Gift Aid can be claimed on any donations you receive. Gift Aid can significantly increase the value of donations, as for every pound collected you can claim an additional twenty-five pence.

HM Revenue and Customs advises on Gift Aid, the Gift Aid small donations scheme and other tax matters. Gift Aid declaration forms and help sheets are available on the government website https://www.gov.uk/claim-gift-aid

The Charity Commission also gives clarity as to what you can claim and how you would do this here

Another popular way of raising funds…particularly at this time of year, is to make use of Raffles.  But did you know that, for whatever the reason whether fundraising or just fun, raffles are a form of gambling. It is vital that suitable safeguards and the appropriate regulations are followed when raising any funds and it is the Trustees responsibility to ensure their organisation is complying with the law.

The Charity Commission outlines the principles and provides some useful checklists to ensure that all your fundraising is safe and legal. No matter how you decide to fundraise, you should have effective systems in place so that your charity complies with the law and fundraising legal duties.

For more advice on how to fundraise legally and responsibly visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fundraising-legally-and-responsibly

Getting fundraising right can be very rewarding and will help build public trust in your charity supporting you to raise further funds in the future in a sustainable and responsible way. Getting it wrong can be catastrophic for your charity and the sector in general.

We would urge anyone who feels unsure of their legal obligations to ask for support.

Raising money is crucial, but sometimes there are other considerations that can be more important. Don’t overlook your duties as a Trustee and remember DCA can always help interpret the guidance.

If you require any further advice and guidance on fundraising, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

Email: info@durhamcommunityaction.org.uk

Telephone: 01388 742040

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