Business and charity

Safe fundraising for charities and not-for-profit organisations


To keep your organisation flourishing, it’s important to consider certain laws surrounding the fundraising that you do. Depending on the nature of your charity’s activities, laws can differ considerably.

Here are some measures you should take to ensure safe fundraising, so you can keep up the hard work without facing any hurdles.

Not-for-profit fundraising regulations

Every not-for-profit organisation and charity must comply with certain laws when it comes to fundraising. Practising safe fundraising is easily achievable, simply by following the Charity Commission’s golden rules:

  • Make sure you state that your charity/not-for-profit organisation is registered on fundraising materials like websites and advertisements. This only applies if your organisation’s income is more than £10,000.

  • Any money your organisation raises for a particular appeal should be ringfenced and not added to your general funds

  • If your income exceeds £500,000, your organisation must produce reports and comments on the fundraising activities that achieved this.

It’s important to be honest and open about your fundraising activity. The public will be less inclined to donate if they don’t trust you – always make it clear that their donations will be used honestly. This should include a plan for under or over-fundraising. What will your organisation do if the target amount isn’t reached? Will your organisation make up the difference? What about the extra money you raise over the target?

Avoid confusion and earn the respect and trust of the public.

Fundraising risk assessment

If you’re planning on hosting an event to raise money, it’s important to conduct a thorough fundraising risk assessment beforehand.

Making a list of potential risks and ordering them by priority is a great way to start a fundraising risk assessment. Think about the environment in which your fundraising event will be taking place:

  • Food – serving food at your fundraising event? Make sure you follow the necessary food hygiene regulations and protocol, and try to include a wide variety. Taking dietary requirements into account will appeal to the public and instil that element of trust.

  • Trip hazards – avoid slips and trips by keeping the floor or ground clear at all times. If a spillage occurs, try and clean it up as soon as possible. In a busy place, try and mark out walkways using cones or barriers.

  • Set-up risks – setting up is just as risky as the actual event. You may need ladders to help put up bunting, light fittings, or other decorations that are high up. Make sure ladders are sturdy and in good condition before using them.

  • Transport – if you require volunteers to drive, whether it’s to pick up goods, deliver goods, or transport members of the public between one place and another, make sure they have a full driving license, clean driving record and reliable vehicle.

Depending on the location of your event, the fundraising risk assessment process could take a while. If your event is taking place near wildlife, or at a children’s school, or a nursing home, there will be different considerations. Taking the time to conduct a thorough fundraising risk assessment will be worth it in the long run.

How to collect donations safely

Sounds simple, but you must be careful about how you actually receive money when fundraising. Fundraising for charity online is quick and instant, but cases that involve physically taking cash from someone need to be safe, too:

  1. Make a list of who will be involved with handling money

  2. What is your target amount to raise? Make this clear to all involved

  3. People handling cash should always work in pairs

  4. Regularly check the money pot to make sure nothing has been stolen

  5. Once your event is over, deposit the donations as soon as possible

Key takeaways

If your organisation is looking for ways to raise money for charity, it’s a good idea to consider the risks involved. Can a risk assessment be carried out in time? Do you have enough people available to ensure the safety of money collections and the public during the event?

As long as your organisation is fully aware of the laws involved with fundraising, and how to safely collect money and mitigate risks, your fundraising activity will continue to thrive.

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