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Legal Advice on Fundraising

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 8 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Legal Fundraising Collecting Law Charity

One of the most daunting aspects of fundraising can be ensuring that you're following the many rules and regulations that exist to govern it's practices. When it comes to taking money from people, there have to be strict codes of conduct and that is why it's very important to get as much legal advice as possible before you start your fundraising campaign.

The Code of Fundraising Practice

The Code of Fundraising Practice is a publication that is released by the Institute of Fundraising to help with the legalities of fundraising in it's many forms. It specifies a number of different areas to consider when fundraising and outlines some of the best practice to ensure that you stay on the right side of the law. You can view the Code of Fundraising Practice by visiting the Institute of Fundraising website. Some of the most fundamental legal aspects covered by the code are mentioned below.

Transparency and Accountability in Fundraising

Legally when you're a fundraiser it is of paramount importance that you have full accountability for your action. The charity you're collecting for should be aware of your methods and should approve them. Also, you should be fully in charge of everyone who is collecting on your behalf. Accountability means being held responsible for your fundraising cause and those working with you. You're essentially benefiting the public by carrying out a charity cause and should be able to justify your actions at all times. The best way of doing this is usually by being completely transparent with the public. Always be open, honest and as easy to understand as possible when communicating on behalf of your fundraising cause. The main aim is to ensure that your target supporters are fully aware of all the facts relating to your fundraising and spending time on this should remove any legal concerns further down the line relating to non-disclosure.

Data Protection and Legal Aspects of Fundraising

One of the most important legal aspects of fundraising is to have an understanding of data protection and what mandatory steps you must take in order to adhere to this law. In general, it is best legal practice not to retain any kind of information you collect on a supporter for your organisation that may be an invasion of privacy. You should also always make sure that your supporter or donor is aware of how their information will be used. Don't share any data with any other organisation without express permission from your supporter. This is to protect an individual's rights under the Data Protection Act of 1998.

General Legal Aspects of Fundraising

There are many governing aspects of fundraising but some of the main ones are fairly straight forward and sensible. If you're planning a collection that involves you going door to door, you must make sure you've completed any permits that are needed or have contacted your local council or authority for permission. You must also seek approval from the charity you're collecting on behalf of, this is the same if you're organising a public raffle or event. If you are organising an event, you normally need to get a Public Entertainments Licence to cover you for any eventualities. If there are any aspects of your fundraising that you're not sure about, contact your charity and ask them for advice or consider contacting a specialist organisation such as The Institute of Fundraising. They will be able to provide you with advice on the best practice to remain within the legal aspects of fundraising.

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