Case study

Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB)

Providing an interface between charities and the public, ensuring compliance and building trust.

Fundraising Standards Board CIC

The FRSB is the only independent self-regulatory scheme for fundraising in the UK, established in 2007 to work with its member charities, suppliers and the wider charity sector to encourage commitment to and compliance with best practice in fundraising.

It does this to help encourage the public to give to charity with confidence. The FRSB also helps resolve complaints from the public about its members’ fundraising.

“We were initially funded by start-up grants from government,” says FRSB’s chief executive, Alistair McLean. “But are now self-sustaining through our membership fees. We’re a membership organisation that uses membership fees to run the organisation.”

The FRSB has 1,318 members, which received £5 billion of the £8 billion donated to charity by the British public in 2010.

With its head office in London, the FRSB also has virtual offices in Edinburgh and Cardiff. The regional teams meet with charities and members, sharing best practice, providing bespoke complaint handling training, gathering material for case studies, and when necessary using the FRSB’s regulations to adjudicate complaints from the public.

The decision to set up as a CIC was determined from the outset, says McLean. “We did consider forming the FRSB as a registered charity but on reflection it would have appeared quite odd, a charity regulating other charities. It didn’t seem the best way to proceed. Furthermore, when we consulted with our solicitors about setting up as a CIC, they confirmed that to do so would be easier, have lower set-up costs and involve less bureaucracy – the business model of the CIC served us perfectly.”

McLean has ambitious plans for the organisation. “It’s more of a journey and we haven’t yet reached our destination,” he says. “The idea of becoming a leading, self-regulatory body is a long journey. We started four years ago and the FRSB has already made a significant impact on upholding best practice and high standards in fundraising and, in so doing, building trust and confidence in the eyes of the donating public.”

He adds: “This is the very essence of what the FRSB was established to achieve. Our membership accounts for just over half of the money donated to charities by the British public, which amounts to some £5 billion per annum. I suppose when I think about it, that’s a big achievement.”

But the FRSB intends to continue along this journey – “protecting and maintaining the highest standards of fundraising by our members, on one hand,” says McLean, “and, on the other, building the trust, awareness and confidence of the public that when they donate money it will be well spent.”

Name Warm Wales (Cymru Gynnes)
Location Port Talbot, Wales
Company structure CIC limited by guarantee
Founded 2004, became a CIC in 2006
Community interest statement To work with others to alleviate fuel poverty and to provide homes in Wales with affordable warmth. In doing so we aim to make a difference to the everyday lives of people in Wales by making their homes more energy efficient, healthy, comfortable, durable and affordable.

Find out more about Fundraising Standards Board (FRSB)

Published 12 November 2013