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The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland
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Fundraising is a key source of income for many charities and for some, it is their sole source of income. It is also an opportunity for charities to engage with members of the public on issues they care about. This relationship should be based on trust and build confidence.

In recent years, public concern about how charities ask for money, has led to a number of critical reviews and inquiries. These reviews and investigations have transformed the way in which fundraising practice is viewed and regulated across the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. The most significant change to date being the establishment of the Fundraising Regulator. It is the responsibility of charity trustees to ensure they understand their obligations and put arrangements in place to ensure their fundraising complies with the relevant legal requirements and standards.

Fundraising for charities: A guide for charity trustees and the public is available to read and download below. This detailed guidance is designed to support charity trustees to understand their obligations in relation to fundraising and to direct them to relevant guidance on fundraising practice and associated issues, such as data protection.

This guidance is also aimed at members of the public and highlights, for example, key issues for the public to consider before making a donation, how to register a complaint about charity fundraising, who members of the public can complain to and what they can complain about.

Our fundraising ‘bitesize’ guidance is also available to download below:

Fundraising at a glance: A guide for charity trustees provides an overview of how fundraising is regulated. It touches on the main issues for charity trustees to consider when fundraising, and provides a basic checklist to guide their approach.

Fundraising at a glance: a guide for members of the public outlines the various options available to the public should they wish to raise a concern in relation to a charity’s fundraising. It also provides a basic checklist of key issues to consider before making a donation.

Download CCNI EG061 Fundraising for charities - A guide for charity trustees and the public PDF (1.1 MB)

Download Fundraising at a glance - A guide for charity trustees PDF (431.5 KB)

Download Fundraising at a glance - A guide for members of the public PDF (392.8 KB)

Fundraising and GDPR

On 25 May 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) came into operation. The GDPR is designed to harmonise data protection legislation across the European Union (EU) and continues to apply after the UK leaves the EU.

In addition to the new data protection provisions outlined in the DPA 2018, the Act also provides clarity on how certain provisions within the GDPR apply to the UK. For this reason they should be read alongside one another. The changes bring new requirements for how organisations, including charities, process personal data across all functions of their organisation, including charity fundraising.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has produced a range of general guidance and self-assessment tools to help organisations understand their obligations and put in place the necessary systems and processes required under the new data protection legislation. The Commission’s fundraising guidance, above, includes key information and signposting to relevant guidance on GDPR and other key legislation impacting on charity fundraising.  

Related resources and external links