SCVO media release
30 July 2015

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations has launched an informal review of fundraising in Scotland to assess whether or not the current system of public charity fundraising self-regulation is working.

The review, which will report back by the end of August, will be led by a reference group made up of third sector representatives and will also include a survey on views about fundraising among members of the public, charities with an interest in the sector’s reputation, charities who fundraise and professional fundraisers.

The Scottish Government asked SCVO to conduct the review to run alongside a review of fundraising being carried out in England and Wales.

John Downie, Director of Public Affairs, SCVO said:

“Charities in Scotland have earned high levels of public trust but high-profile media reports of poor fundraising practice south of the border are damaging the strong reputation which charities rely on to attract donations and volunteers.

“It’s vitally important that we do everything in our power to maintain high levels of trust of charities otherwise thousands of people across Scotland could miss out on life-changing help and support.

“The review will consider what reasonable steps can be taken to strengthen public trust, put a stop to any bad practice and make sure that giving to charity is a positive experience for people in Scotland.

“People right across the country will have a chance to feed their views and experiences into the review when we launch the survey next week.”

Fraser Hudghton National Manager at Institute of Fundraising (IOF) Scotland welcomed the review, saying:

“We have been and will continue to work in partnership with SCVO, OSCR and the Scottish Government to ensure a fair environment for charities but one which also delivers a robust regime the public have complete faith in.

“The structure of the self-regulatory system in Scotland and enforcement of fundraising rules are key areas for our profession to do some serious thinking. As a sector we also need to ensure maximum transparency around charity fundraising in Scotland and better communicate with the public about who oversees best practice. Adherence to the Code of Fundraising Practice is a must for charities.

“We have a fantastic and supportive environment for self-regulation and we very much want to see that continue. The fundraising profession has much to be proud of in Scotland and we look forward to relaying that message in the course of this review.”

David Robb, Chief Executive of OSCR, the Scottish charity regulator, said:

“Fundraising is a key contact between charities and the public. As Scotland’s charity regulator, our interest is in ensuring the continued trust and support of the public for charities and their work. We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the informal review and to continue working with other organisations and the charity sector to reinforce transparency and confidence.”

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said: “The Scottish Government is aware of concerns about aggressive fundraising by UK charities operating in Scotland but we also recognise that the charitable sector is different here and there has been no evidence of a Scottish dimension to this approach to fundraising so far.

“We want to make sure no-one can prey on the most vulnerable people in our society and that we can continue to place our trust in our charitable sector. That is why we have asked SCVO, working with OSCR and others, to carry out this informal review and to establish whether the legislation relating to fundraising in Scotland, is effectively protecting the vulnerable.”

ENDS

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national membership body representing the interests of charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.9 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations.
  2. For more details about the review, please see the attached briefing and blogs:
    http://www.scvo.org.uk/blog/fundraising-problems-cant-be-allowed-to-silence-the-third-sector/
    http://thirdforcenews.org.uk/blogs/proud-to-be-a-fundraiser-with-integrity
  3. For interview or further comment, please call Charlotte McNeill at SCVO on 07790 601 995