The Charity Commission is encouraging the public to “give with their heads as well their hearts” in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.
The British public are generous in their support for charities, and the 11 November anniversary is always a time of peak giving. Britons donate millions of pounds to charity every year during this period.
The overwhelming majority of charity collectors are legitimate but public generosity is such that the sector can be a target for criminals. The regulator therefore wants to ensure that the public know how to give confidently to registered charities.
Donors are encouraged to follow the Commission’s simple steps when supporting and donating to charity, so that all donations reach intended causes associated with the welfare of Armed Forces members.
Helen Stephenson CBE, Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said:
Giving to charity is an important way in which so many of us remember the sacrifices of serving and former armed forces. As we collectively mark 100 years of remembrance, we as regulator want to help ensure that the public know how to ensure that their donations reach those in need.
That’s why I am encouraging people to give with their heads as well as their hearts. By making simple checks part of the routine of donating, we can all become smarter donors, and together help protect and promote public trust in the charity sector.
The regulator is advising people to:
- check a charity’s name and registration number at www.gov.uk/checkcharity. Most charities with an annual income of £5,000 or more must be registered
- make sure the charity is genuine before giving any financial information
- be careful when responding to emails or clicking on links within them
- check whether street collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed and undamaged
- ask the collector for more information if in doubt
- check whether fundraising materials are genuine. They should feature the charity’s name, registered number and a landline contact number (check their contact details on the register at www.gov.uk/checkcharity)
Reporting suspicious activity
After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to the police. You can also complain about a charity to the Commission and the Fundraising Regulator. If you think a collection is fraudulent report it to Action Fraud through their website or call them on 0300 123 2040.
If you think a collector does not have a licence - report it to the relevant Local Authority Licensing Team or the Metropolitan Police (if in Greater London). Also let the charity and Action Fraud know if you can.
Notes to editors:
- The charity sector as a whole generates an annual income of over £77 billion. More information and key statistics about charities are available on the Register of Charities.
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. To find out more about our work visit the About Us page on GOV.UK.