Fundraising from the public is an essential and valuable source of revenue for many charities. However, it is critical that charities carry out all fundraising from the public in an open, transparent, honest, respectful and accountable manner. Fundraising should always be underpinned by an appropriate legal framework. Fundraising activities which operate on the basis of perceived loopholes in the law risk damaging the reputation of the charity and the sector more generally.
The basis for these Guidelines is the 2008 Statement of Guiding Principles on Charitable Fundraising. These Guidelines have benefitted from the input of a Consultative Panel on Charitable Fundraising which was set up by the Charities Regulator in 2016 at the request of the Minister for Justice and Equality. They have also been informed by evidence-based research and a public consultation which took place in Autumn 2016. The Charities Regulator expects that any charities that fundraise will do so in a way which protects the reputations of their charity and encourages public trust and confidence in their charity and in charities more generally. This includes following the law and recognised standards, protecting the charity from undue risk and showing respect for beneficiaries, donors and the public. These Guidelines are intended to assist trustees of a charity to run the charity effectively, avoid difficulties in respect of fundraising activities and comply with their legal duties.
Charities vary in terms of their size and activities. Trustees should consider and decide how best to apply these Guidelines to their charity’s particular circumstances. The Charities Regulator requires the trustees of each registered Irish charity to be able to explain and justify their approach to fundraising from the public, particularly if they decide not to follow good practice as set out in these Guidelines.