Every charity fundraises in a different way. Our sector is hugely diverse with different sizes of charities, different causes, and different ideas and approaches. But every charity is ultimately run by a board of volunteers – our trustees – and if you’re raising voluntary income it’s essential that you’re doing it in the right way.
This isn’t new. Trustees have always needed to be involved as part of their duties of good governance. But if we ever needed a reminder of the importance of getting this right it was given to us last year, played out in the press and in Parliament, with some high profile examples of what happens when the distance between a charity’s trustee board and its fundraising practice becomes too great. The Charity Commission certainly thought that the time was right to remind trustees of their duties and revised their guidance document, CC20 earlier in the summer.
It is on the back of this climate of intense scrutiny and debate about the role of trustees in relation to fundraising that we are publishing a new trustees and fundraising handbook at our Trustees and Fundraising Conference next week.
In partnership with NCVO, CFG, and ACEVO we have developed a handbook that helps trustees and those in leadership positions in charities navigate their way through the rules, regulations and expectations placed on them when it comes to fundraising. With practical tips and insights the handbook caters for all, whether you’re a trustee new to the sector, an experienced hand in charity boardrooms, or in a leadership position in a charity, there’ll be something in there for you that reminds us that we all have a part to play in ensuring excellent fundraising practice.
Part of this is being assured that any and all fundraising practice follows the law and the Code of Fundraising Practice. But the duties of a trustee go much further than just legal compliance; it’s also about every charity thinking through its strategy, setting out and agreeing the right policies, getting the balance right between oversight and delegation, and putting in place the building blocks for success and sustainability.
I am both a charity trustee and a fundraiser and can fully appreciate that for some – perhaps many – the responsibilities around fundraising might seem daunting. This is understandable, and we need to ensure that by reminding volunteer trustees of their duties and responsibilities we aren’t inadvertently scaring them off or making it seem like the role of a trustee is too onerous. There needs to be greater focus on providing support, training and advice for trustees, to match the responsibilities and expectations that form the basis of their duties as charity trustees. I hope that the guide we are launching next week will go some way to help with this.
Richard Taylor is Executive Director of Fundraising, Macmillan Cancer Support, and Chair of the Institute of Fundraising. He and others are speaking at the IoF Trustees and Fundraising Conference in London on Monday 10th October.
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