Fundraising is a key source of income for many charities; for some, it is their sole source of income. Although fundraising activities are largely self-regulated by the sector, we produce guidance to help charities and their trustees fundraise effectively, efficiently and legally, protecting public trust and confidence in charities’ work.

This section sets out our core fundraising guidance along with our guidance and research on specific aspects of fundraising activity. It also provides various resources and links to help donors give safely.

Core fundraising guidance

Our core guidance Charities and Fundraising (CC20) explains the statutory controls regulating fundraising in more detail, and provides information on:

  • an explanation of trustees’ legal responsibilities in relation to fundraising;
  • the role of self regulation in fundraising
  • fundraising and the law
  • issues that may arise from fundraising

You can also read our Frequently asked questions on fundraising.

There are provisions in charity law that govern some aspects of fundraising, such as agreements with professional fundraisers, commercial participators, solicitation statements and telephone and broadcast appeals. Charities must also comply with other provisions in charity law, particularly the provisions governing the application of charitable funds to the purposes for which they are raised.

However, fundraising activities are largely self-regulated by the sector, through the Fundraising Standards Board and the Institute of Fundraising. Trustees and their charities follow the codes of best practice developed by the Institute of Fundraising and enforced by the Fundraising Standards Board.

Further information how complaints about fundraising are managed can be found in the Memorandum of understanding between the Charity Commission and the Fundraising Standards Board.

Fundraising can also be subject to other laws that fall outside of charity law such as gaming laws, taxation laws, child protection laws and data protection laws. For more information, you should read our other guidance

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Guidance on specific aspects of fundraising

Disaster Appeals

Action to set up a public appeal following some tragic accident or disaster, or an occasion on which some special misfortune is brought to the public eye, is generally taken with little time to prepare the ground. The community may well feel an urgent need to give practical expression to its sorrow and respect, and the response may well exceed expectations.

Our guidance CC40 Disaster Appeals: Attorney General’s Guidelines sets out the Attorney General’s guidelines about disaster appeals.

Partnering with companies for fundraising

Charities often form partnerships with companies in order to fundraise. Our research report Charities and Commercial Partners (RS2) looks in detail at the commercial partnership that exists when a charity and a commercial company enter into an agreement either to raise funds for the charity or to raise its profile.

Paying for wills with charity funds

Charities can become involved in meeting the cost of will preparation as part of the delivery of charitable purposes (e.g. a charity whose aim is the support of the terminally ill may consider it appropriate to meet the cost of the preparation of the wills of beneficiaries as part of the support it provides for them) or where a number of charities have adopted fund-raising initiatives to promote the inclusion of gifts to charities in wills. (e.g. as part of an organised campaign to raise funds, a charity may offer to meet the cost of preparing a will for an individual in the belief that the charity will receive a legacy)

Our guidance Paying for wills with charity funds explains some of the issues that arise in the fund-raising context and it aims to provide trustees, charity employees and solicitors with advice about the legal position and best practice when a charity offers to meet the cost of will preparation as a fund-raising venture.

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Helping donors give safely

We work with other organisations to raise public awareness of safe ways to donate to charity and to help stamp out fraudulent collections which have nothing to do with genuine good causes

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Related resources and links

Related Charity Commission publications
Sector bodies and related links

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