Friday, 14 November 2014

Trustees and Fundraising: Could you be doing more to boost your charity's bottom line?

The article below has been written for Trustees' Week by Alistair McLean, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Standards Board – the self-regulatory body for charity fundraising in the UK.

Trustees Week is a chance to celebrate the critical role of charity trustees; their energy, drive and commitment to the organisations they work with and their beneficiaries.

It is also an opportunity for trustees to take inspiration from other trustees and consider whether there is anything more that they can bring to the table, particularly when it comes to fundraising.

After all, trustees have a big weight on their shoulders. Responsibility for the sustainability of the charity as a whole lies with them and that means understanding what funding is coming into the organisation just as well as how the charity is managing its expenditure.

Sourcing funding is often one of the hardest and most important tasks for charities to master and as such we encourage all trustees to take an interest in how this is being done.

For every charity, this means something different.  In some organisations, trustees might have a distant involvement in the fundraising process. In others, trustees make the lion’s share of fundraising decisions and are regularly involved in reaching out through their networks for funds.

Trustees might not need to know how to fundraise themselves, but they certainly need to know that it is being done, that it is well managed and, ultimately, that it will enable the organisation to achieve its objectives.

Whether trustees are involved in raising funds themselves or advising at a strategic level, they all need to know that it is being done responsibly, honestly and effectively, and that the charity is adhering to regulations.

In the UK, best practice for charity fundraising is set out in the Institute of Fundraising’s Code of Fundraising Practice and regulated by us at the Fundraising Standards Board. Rather than a statutory scheme, it is a self-regulatory approach, requiring charities to opt in and commit to meeting those standards.

To date, well over half of all voluntary income in this country is generated through FRSB member charities and the number is growing all the time, reflecting the sectors’ growing sense of accountability and greater rigour in the way that charities ask for funds.

So why not take the opportunity this week, during Trustees Week to review your organisation’s approach to fundraising and to consider what more you could do to encourage your charity’s supporters to give with confidence.

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