As a charity chief executive, I know you’ll be facing a mountain of work as one financial year ends and another starts.
I’m therefore guessing that responding to a consultation on fundraising regulation in Scotland is not on the top of your list of things to do. I’m pretty certain that’ll be the case if you are solely contract or grant funded.
There are, however, three good reasons why I believe you should make your views known about fundraising regulation:
- The way fundraising is performed in Scotland affects every charity, regardless of its source of income. Poor fundraising behaviour stimulates awkward questions for us all such as ‘how much do CEOs get paid’ and ‘why do charities have such large reserves?’
- We need to demonstrate to the Scottish Government and OSCR that our sector can effectively self-regulate fundraising, if we are to avoid further statutory regulation in other areas in the future.
- It is our duty to ensure that regulatory processes, regardless of whether a UK-wide or Scottish solution is best, align with the particular needs of Scotland’s people and communities.
What do these reasons all have in common? It’s the need for strong, proportionate and effective governance; governance that is driven by third sector leaders and trustees, rather than being enforced by statutory bodies. Some charities have failed in their governance in relation to fundraising and we all need to address this.
If I’ve persuaded you to respond to the consultation, and I do hope I have, there are three options to choose from and three ways to have your say. Starting with the options, the Scottish Fundraising Working Group has identified the following.
Option 1: A UK-wide Fundraising Regulator acts as intermediary in place of the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB)
Option 2: A new Scottish Fundraising Regulator acts as intermediary
Option 3: No intermediary: charities and OSCR have an enhanced role
Each has merits, and all would benefit from your input.
- Should there be a Scottish office of a UK fundraising regulator in Option 1?
- Should a Scottish Fundraising Regulator be part of another organisation or entirely autonomous?
- When and how should OSCR intervene if charities can’t resolve complaints under Option 3?
You can feed back your thoughts by:
- Getting together with other sector leaders to discuss these issue further and sending us a combined response
- Coming along to local events addressing this issue that are being organised by Third Sector Interfaces across Scotland in April
Remember, the public’s faith in your charity is either bolstered, or undermined, by the actions of other charities, particularly those that fundraise. Collectively, we all have a responsibility to ensure good governance across our sector.
Please step forward and play your part.
Theresa Shearer is Chief Executive of ENABLE Scotland and chair of the Scottish Fundraising Working Group