Regulators urge public to give safely this Christmas
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland, has teamed up with the Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB), the self-regulatory body for UK fundraising, to encourage the public to give safely to charities this Christmas by remembering the ‘Safe Xmas’ acronym.
Both regulators will also be issuing the advice on social media, which can be found by following #SafeXmas on Twitter.
Christmas is a traditional time for giving and charities work hard to raise money during this time to fund their work throughout the year – with the people of Northern Ireland some of the most generous in the UK when it comes to charity giving at Christmas. In a survey* of people’s giving habits last December, 86 per cent of Northern Ireland respondents said they give to charities at Christmas.
The independent poll also reported that the average UK Christmas donation per person was £39.50, however Northern Ireland respondents showed their generosity with an average planned or actual donation of £47.10.
However, while almost all collections are genuine, some people will try to abuse the generosity of others for their own gain.
With some charities and supporters having experienced fraud, it is vital that the public know that their donations are going to the right place. The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and FRSB have come together to issue a few simple tips for giving with confidence this Christmas.
Search for a charity’s name and landline on fundraising materials
Ask to see a collector’s ID badge and don’t be afraid to ask questions
Find the FRSB tick logo, showing that the charity’s fundraising is regulated
Ensure the collection device is sealed
Xtra information about charities in Northern Ireland can be found at www.charitycommissionni.org.uk
Make sure clothing collection bags are clearly branded with a charity’s details
Always check email and web links are genuine before donating
Still unsure? Contact your favourite charity to donate to them directly
Frances McCandless, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland, said:
“It’s great to see how generous the people of Northern Ireland are to charities both at Christmas time and throughout the year, with many people giving their time, skills as well as financial donations to support local good causes.
“However, while incidents of fraudulent fundraising are rare, they do occur and I would encourage all charity donors to undertake some basic checks to ensure that they are giving to a bona fide charity.
“There are over 650 charities listed on the Commission’s online register of charities, and the deemed list of charities is also available to check on our website www.charitycommissionni.org.uk.
“We don’t want to discourage people from giving during the festive season, so following the SafeXmas giving tips will help to ensure you can give with confidence.”
Alistair McLean, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Standards Board, said:
“People are often incredibly generous in giving both time and money to good causes at Christmas and this support is critical. Many charities will be relying on money donated during the winter months to fund vital services that continue throughout the year.
“Although bogus fundraising remains rare in the UK, it is essential that we all do what we can to make it increasingly difficult for criminals to cheat charities and their supporters. For donors, this means being aware and, if in doubt, making a few simple checks before giving. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to contact the charity with your queries.
“Above all, keep on giving. Your donations could make a critical difference to the good causes you care about this Christmas.”
For further details, please contact:
Charity Commission for Northern Ireland press office – Shirley Kernan at firstname.lastname@example.org / 028 3832 0220
Fundraising Standards Board press office – Lucinda Frostick at email@example.com / 07712 045 308
*ICM interviewed a random sample of 1162 adults aged 18+ via telephone in the UK between 22 November and 24 November 2013. This included a random sample of 100 respondents from Northern Ireland. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information is available at www.icmresearch.com
A report on the results of the December 2013 survey is available on the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland’s website at
Notes to Editors
The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland is the independent regulator of charities in Northern Ireland established under the Charities Act (Northern Ireland) 2008.
The Act states that the Commission must keep a publicly accessible register of all charities in Northern Ireland. The Commission began registration in Northern Ireland for the first time in December 2013 and had registered over 650 charities as at 11 December 2014, with more charities added to the register every week.
The Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB) is the regulator of charity fundraising in the UK, working to ensure that charity fundraising is always honest, legal, respectful, open and accountable.
Over 1,700 charities and fundraising suppliers are signed up to the self-regulatory scheme accounting for more than 50% of all voluntary income raised nationally.
These organisations display the FRSB’s tick logo on fundraising materials and appeals, encouraging the UK public to give with confidence. The FRSB regulates fundraising practice against industry standards (the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice), monitoring complaints about charity fundraising and working to resolve concerns raised by the public.