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New rules for online fundraising platforms

New rules and guidance have been published outlining the responsibilities of online fundraising platforms.

The new standards in the Code of Fundraising Practice require online platforms to be open and transparent with users. The standards have been developed following a public consultation in February. Charities, online giving platforms, sector bodies and legal organisations participated.

“We are confident that the updates to the Code will continue to ensure public trust in online platforms and encourage donors to give confidently”.

The Regulator worked with fundraising sites and hosted round-table discussions to gain feedback. Around twenty representatives from online giving platforms provided comment.

Guidance for platforms has also been developed to help them meet the new standards. Fundraising platforms have been given to the end of August 2018 to make any non-legal changes necessary to their systems.

“Fundraising platforms have made a huge difference to charity fundraising and continue to innovate to give the public a good and quick experience of supporting charities.” Said Daniel Fluskey from the Institute of Fundraising.

“We are glad to see the Fundraising Regulator update the Code and provide guidance to platforms on the information that must be given to donors. We hope that these changes will enable online fundraising to continue to grow and maintain confidence in giving through fundraising platforms.”

Guidance has also been produced to help members of the public who want to raise funds using these platforms. The guidance aims to make sure they do not breach the Code and that they consider how funds will reach the end cause.

The guidance also provides advice to donors to outline what they can expect and how to give safely. It also includes ways to identify fraudulent causes and how to report any issues.

“There was a very generous public response to the high-profile incidents in London and Manchester in 2017. Some questioned how the money raised through crowdfunding pages would reach the people that donors wanted to help, if a charity had not been named to receive the donations” said Stephen Dunmore, Chief Executive of the Fundraising Regulator.

“We have worked collaboratively with the online platforms to update our Code, develop guidance and ensure fundraising is done lawfully and transparently. We are confident that these changes will increase public trust in online platforms and encourage donors to give with confidence”.