How to approach fundraising safely

In Advice, Charity, Risk Management by Static Author Display Name

This blog has been written as an introduction to our new Non-Profit Support Centre article on Fundraising Risk Management.

As a charity or not-for-profit organisation, fundraising is your lifeblood. You rely on it and cannot afford any problems with fundraising activities or events. So how should you approach this important task and ensure you fund raise in a safe, responsible manner?

Approaching fundraising

Before you even begin to collect funds, whether publicly or privately, you should determine the scope of your fundraising activity so you stay focused and know when you have achieved your goal. When planning your fundraising, consider the following:

  • Your financial goal – Are you fundraising to purchase a particular thing or is there a minimum amount of money that you need for operational costs?
  • Your timeline – Do you need the funds for a specific purpose at a certain time?
  • Who will be involved – Will you recruit volunteers, hire professionals or do the fundraising yourself?
  • Your purpose – Do you want to raise funds or awareness?

Rules and regulations

Fundraising is your organisation’s lifeblood, but it is difficult. Follow the appropriate regulations to ensure your fundraising operations are successful and compliant.

Charity laws differ based on where your charity is located and what activities you are planning. You can find out more on the Institute of Fundraising website or in our fundraising Support Centre article.

There are some general rules and guidance that every charity or non-profit organisation should follow:

  • Keep money raised for an appeal separate from the general funds of the charity
  • State that you are a registered charity on any fundraising materials, such as adverts and websites (this only applies if you are registered and your income exceeds £5,000)
  • Report and comment each year on your fundraising activities (this only applies if you have a gross income of £500,000 and an audit is required)

Risk management

The risk management procedures you follow will depend on the scale and type of activities you are undertaking. However, as a minimum ensure that thorough risk assessments have been completed and acted upon in order to identify risks and mitigate against them where possible. Read more about charity risk assessments.

For collections and door-to-door fundraising, there are extra considerations for your risk assessment, such as mobile signal availability in case of an emergency. Read more about risk management for door-to-door and street collections.

For all fundraising events, your risk assessment should consider the amount of cash that may be collected, safe storage and banking. You should also have policies and procedures relating to the regular counting, banking and staff members who can accept and handle cash, as well as training, if appropriate.

Find out more about fundraising risk management in our Non-Profit Support Centre.