Staff and trustees are being urged to take Scotland's fundraising consultation seriously and ensure public trust in charities
The chair of the Scottish Fundraising Working Group is urging charity chief executives and trustees, including those without a fundraising background, to get involved in shaping the future of fundraising.
In a letter to senior staff across Scottish charities, Theresa Shearer, who is also an official observer on the board of the new UK Fundraising Regulator, said fundraising regulation in Scotland is set to have a major impact on all charities regardless of size.
Shearer, who is chief executive of one of Scotland’s biggest charities, Enable, said the issue goes to the heart of public trust in the work of the whole sector.
Widely publicised examples of malpractice have started to chip away at public trust of charities and driven the media to seek out more headlines about charity leaders’ pay and financial mismanagement - Theresa Shearer
“How fundraising is regulated will affect charities and third sector organisations of all shapes and sizes, even those that don’t do fundraising,” she said.
“Widely publicised examples of malpractice have started to chip away at public trust of charities and driven the media to seek out more headlines about charity leaders’ pay and financial mismanagement.”
Her letter calls on staff and trustees to respond to the working group’s consultation on fundraising in Scotland before its deadline at the end of April.
The UK-wide regulatory system for fundraising is already being tightened with the introduction of the new Fundraising Regulator and the creation of a fundraising preference service, which will enable the public to opt out of contact from charities seeking to raise money.
A new regulator will replace the Fundraising Standards Board, which is being dissolved. The two professional bodies, the Institute of Fundraising and the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association, are also merging and will pass their codes of practice to the new regulator to develop.
However, charities in Scotland still have a choice as to how fundraising is regulated north of the border.
They can opt to be part of a UK-wide fundraising regulatory scheme, to develop a separate Scottish fundraising regulator, or enhance the role charities themselves play in dealing with complaints in conjunction with a bigger role for the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.
A consultation document outlining how these options would work in practise has been created by the working group and can be viewed on the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisation’s (SCVO) website.
Staff and trustees of voluntary organisations are being invited to respond to the consultation through a survey, which will be open until 31 March. Written responses will also be accepted until the end of April.
Martin Sime, chief executive of SCVO, added: “Whatever the outcome of the consultation, regulation is going to change, so make sure you and especially your trustees have a say on how we can build a system in Scotland which everyone can trust and which puts a stop to any bad practice.”
“There is no light touch option as we move to enhance the role that charities themselves play in dealing with complaints and maintaining public trust, backed by stronger Scottish regulation.”