With the public giving to charities more generously in the festive season, the Fundraising Regulator has six tips to make sure your money goes to the right places.
This is a guest post by Gerald Oppenheim. All views expressed are Gerald’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?.
For many people Christmas is a time of giving and showing appreciation for others – this includes giving back to causes that are personally meaningful. So, it’s not surprising that, during the festive period, the British public tend to be more generous than usual when giving to charities.
This spirit of generosity takes on even greater significance this Christmas. This year has been challenging for fundraising. Many charities have experienced an increase in demand for their services, coupled with a sharp drop in income after some types of fundraising activity were paused during national restrictions.
While for many of us Christmas is an opportunity to relax, fundraisers are working hard to ensure their charities can keep delivering their important work.
This year, although you will have seen and heard about many inspiring fundraising stories throughout the pandemic, charities still need our support. It is vital for many charities that people continue to give if they can. And, even more importantly, that when a donation is made, the money reaches its intended cause.
Opportunities for fraudsters
Sadly, the run up to Christmas is also the time when fraudsters see ripe opportunities to try to take advantage of people’s goodwill.
This includes setting up fake charities and even impersonating well-known charity names. Action Fraud has estimated that almost £350,000 of donations intended for charities, ended up in the pockets of criminals over the festive period last year.
However, by taking time before you donate to make some simple checks, you can be reassured that your money will go to legitimate causes.
The Fundraising Regulator’s six tips
⚠ Before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number at gov.uk/checkcharity. You can also check the charity is registered with the Fundraising Regulator and committed to good fundraising practice at fundraisingregulator.org.uk/
⚠ When donating online, donate directly on the charity’s website by typing the website address into the browser yourself. Be wary of unsolicited emails from charities you’ve never heard of before – don’t click on any links or attachments that might be in them.
⚠ If you’re choosing to donate through an online fundraising platform, check the legitimacy of the campaign, for example, by looking at the activity on the fundraising page. If you have concerns, report the page to the online giving platform.
⚠ If you have donated to or had contact with a charity in the past, they may call you. If you get a phone call, ask who is calling and check if their number is displayed. Genuine charities should identify themselves up front and also provide a contact address or freephone number if asked.
⚠ Look out for the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number on fundraising materials – these should be included on materials such as charity clothing collection bags.
⚠ In person fundraising continues to be impacted by Covid-19 restrictions in different parts of the country. If you’re in an area where this may take place safely and you’re approached by a collector on the street or at the door, ask to see the collector’s ID badge. Genuine collectors should also have a permit or license to collect from the local authority. And you should never feel under pressure by a fundraiser into making a donation immediately.
These safer giving tips are not just for Christmas. It is important to be alert and make checks whenever you give to charity. This means you can be confident in the knowledge that you are helping a good cause and supporting their vital work.
Do continue to support charities this Christmas, but make sure you are doing so sensibly and safely.
This was a guest post by Gerald Oppenheim. All views expressed were Gerald’s own and not necessarily shared by Which?.
Are you donating to charities this Christmas? Are you confident that your money is going to genuine causes?