Regulators hold digital giving summit with online platforms

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Regulators hold digital giving summit with online platforms

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator are today holding a joint summit with digital fundraising platforms to “improve transparency about online giving”.

The Charity Commission and Fundraising Regulator are today meeting with chief executives or senior representatives from 14 of the UK’s largest digital giving platforms, including JustGiving, Virgin Money Giving and BT MyDonate.

According to the announcement, today’s summit will aim to “collectively agree some principles that will ensure individuals are supported when setting up or donating to online appeals, help to increase public trust and confidence in charity and online giving, and ensure that charitable resources in the short, medium and long-term are used as effectively as possible”.

The summit will also explore “whether the self-regulatory regime set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice is an appropriate route through which the public and Parliament can be assured about the high standards and transparency which apply to the major giving platforms.”

Issues around the transparency of digital giving platforms have been raised by a number of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester, as well as the Grenfell Tower fire disaster this year.

The 14 digital giving platforms invited to attend the summit are:

  • Just Giving
  • GoFund Me
  • Virgin Money Giving
  • BT MyDonate
  • PayPal Giving Fund
  • Total Giving
  • Charity Choice
  • Givey
  • Everyclick Ltd
  • Local Giving
  • The Big Give
  • Wonderful
  • The Good Exchange
  • Everydayhero

Areas being discussed in detail

The Charity Commission announcement sets out five areas which will be discussed by gathered digital giving platform representatives and the joint regulators.

These include:

  • providing individuals with advice before setting up pages about the responsibility they are taking on for ensuring the funds they raise are properly held on trust, and the advantages and disadvantages of different types of appeal
  • providing support and advice to individuals in managing successful appeals
  • providing support and advice to the general public on the advantages and disadvantages of donating through different routes, including the limits of the Charity Commission’s remit over person to person fundraising
  • providing transparent information about fees and charges
  • protecting charitable funds from fraud and misrepresentation, and the circumstances in which funds may be quarantined or pages closed

The summit will be lead by Stephen Dunmore, chief executive and Gerald Oppenheim, head of policy and communications, from the Fundraising Regulator and Helen Stephenson, chief executive, and Sarah Atkinson, director of policy and communications from the Charity Commission.

Stephenson said: “The emergence of new crowdfunding and online giving sites has had a positive impact on charitable giving in the UK, making it easy for the public to donate to a wide range of causes and respond quickly to large-scale disasters.

“I look forward to meeting with representatives from these fundraising sites to build on this success and to collectively identify what steps we can take going forward. We want to ensure the public are sufficiently informed about online giving and that they can set up appeals and donate with confidence.”

Stephen Dunmore, chief executive of the Fundraising Regulator, said: “The public and charities are using crowdfunding and online donation sites more and more to raise funds for causes they care deeply about. It is very important that the online platform operators support both the legal requirements and good practice in fundraising set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice. 

“We look forward to building good working relationships with the online platforms to ensure that they support the Code and can help develop it in future, as well as to assure the public that they can donate safely when they use the platform of their choice.”

The next issue of Fundraising magazine, published on 9 October, will include features about the current challenges and opportunities facing online fundraising platforms. For more information, about subscribing click here.

 

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