The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, is supporting a London-wide campaign led by the London Prevent Network and the Metropolitan Police to encourage Londoners and London businesses to support genuine charities with confidence.
‘Support Charity NOT Crime’ aims to raise Londoners’ awareness of how to identify genuine charity collections, and give them the confidence to refuse collections when they have doubts. The initiative includes both a physical and virtual campaign, and all 32 London boroughs are taking part.
Londoners can get involved in the virtual campaign by following #supportcharitynotcrime and @safergiving, and up to 200,000 campaign flyers are to be distributed across the city today.
Most charity collections, in London and across the country, are genuine and legitimate. However, the regulator says that charity scams do happen. There have been several convictions of individuals linked to fraudulent fundraising in recent years.
Sarah Atkinson, Director of Policy and Communications at the Charity Commission, said:
Londoners give generously to the 5,581 registered charities in the capital. They should keep doing so, confident that fundraising fraud is rare and a few simple checks before donating can protect your money. Follow this advice to make sure your money goes to registered charities, supporting the good work these organisations do.
The commission says there are simple, easy steps the public can take to check whether an organisation appealing for donations is a genuine charity:
- Check for charity name and registration number - you can verify these against the online charity register at GOV.UK.
- Check whether collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed.
- If in doubt, ask for more information - a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.
- Genuine fundraising materials should feature a charity’s name, registration number and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that only list a mobile number.
- Look out for the FRSB blue tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation, encouraging you to give with confidence www.givewithconfidence.org.uk.
- Fundraisers in London require a licence from the police to collect in a public place. Check that they have this. If the collection is in a privately owned place (including shopping centres and train stations), check that they have the owner’s permission.
- Take care when following links to a charity’s website - make sure you are being taken to the charity’s genuine website.
- If you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it as a crime to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk and inform the commission.
- If in any doubt, contact your favoured charity direct to make a donation.
Notes to editors
The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
- The commission’s mission is to be the independent registrar and regulator of charities in England and Wales, acting in the public’s interest, to ensure that:
- charities know what they have to do
- the public know what charities do
- charities are held to account