Fundraising is a vital source of income for most charities and finding ways to fundraise efficiently, responsibly and lawfully are incredibly important. Without it, charities just wouldn't receive the donations required to fulfil their charitable purpose. While it may seem like an easy trouble free venture, there are laws and regulations in place intended to protect both charities and the public.
There are lots of ways to fundraise in aid of your charity, or a charity that you support such as charity boxes in shops, door to door collections, events, raffles, online donations etc. But before you start raising the funds, you might want to plan your fundraising more efficiently:
How much do you want to raise?
How long will you fundraise for?
Who will help you?
If you are looking for fundraising inspiration, How2Fundraise (the Institute of Fundraising) are a fountain of knowledge in this area, even offering training days.
So, now you have your fundraising plan in place, its time to start actually getting the donations for your charity, however before you start, you will need to follow some laws and some best practice procedures to ensure that you are acting lawfully and responsibly. You can avoid misleading the public by being very clear and precise when setting out your fundraising plan. You need to clearly state exactly what it is you are raising money for like a specific piece of equipment or general donations for the charity.
When handling cash donations it is important to have some controls in place. Some simple procedures need to be followed when collecting, counting and banking money and it is something that is usually carried out with at least one person witnessing another. If you are fundraising for your own charity, you need to keep the donations separate to any money which is used for the up keep of your charity (unless that is the reason you are fundraising).
If you wish to take your fundraising into a public place (parks, streets, houses etc) you will require a licence. These can be obtained by applying either to the Charity Commission, the local council or if you are in London, from the Metropolitan police. When producing any materials to aid your fundraising (posters, donation boxes, raffle tickets etc) you must state your registered charity number.
It is worth producing an annual report detailing fundraising activity. This is not required by law unless your gross income is over £500,000 in which case an audit will also need to be carried out. Smaller less established charities in particular may find producing an annual report beneficial in providing information quickly to prospective donors.
Charities will follow different legislation based on where in the UK they are registered. New laws are constantly being implemented, so it is worth making sure you are following the correct standards and procedures when you start fundraising for a charity for the first time.
And then the fun can start! However you decide to raise the funds your charity needs we hope that you have fun and enjoy the journey!