Campaigning and political activity

The independent nature of the charitable sector is of fundamental importance to society, and is greatly valued by the public. The guiding principle of charity law in terms of campaigning, political activity and elections is that charities should be, and be seen to be, independent from party politics.

Campaigning and political activity

This guidance aims to help trustees work out the best way of getting their message across confidently. There are questions that trustees need to consider before starting any campaigning and political activity, for instance where the activity fits in their overall strategy and its likelihood of success.

We give answers to the most frequent questions that arise, and have included a Checklist for Trustees, so that they can make well-informed decisions and speak out on the things that matter most to their charity if they choose to do so.

Elections

We have provided specific guidance for use by charities during the period between the announcement of an election, and the date on which an election is held. It applies to both national and local elections and contains legal and good practice advice to charities to help ensure that they are able both to:

  • retain the essential quality of independence; and
  • use their voice effectively at election times.

This brief guidance should be read in conjunction with our more detailed guidance on the wider subject of campaigning and political activity above. The principles described in Speaking Out continue to apply during an election period.

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