Regulator issues alert in wake of disaster.
The Charity Commission is encouraging people wishing to help those affected by the earthquake disaster in Nepal to donate only to established registered charities.
It says charities such as the members of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has launched a dedicated appeal in response to the earthquake, are experienced in providing emergency help during humanitarian disasters.
The regulator says that most fundraising is genuine, but warns the public to guard against unscrupulous people who exploit the generosity of the public by fundraising fraudulently.
It is urging people not to attempt to send cash or aid out directly themselves and not to forget that there are other ways of supporting registered charities if they cannot afford to or do not want to donate. For example, people can take part in fundraising events and activities organised by a registered charity.
There are laws around collecting money for charity in public which are there to protect donors and make sure that the money raised goes to a genuine charitable cause. The commission says there are simple steps people can take to help ensure they give to genuine registered charities. The tips include:
- check for a registered charity number, and check that against the charity’s entry on the commission’s online charity search tool - if you want to give to the DEC appeal, its registered charity number for England and Wales is 1062638
- check whether collectors are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed
- if in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity (please see below for further safer giving tips)
Paula Sussex, the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission said:
The British public is incredibly generous and we want to encourage them to continue giving to people in the most desperate need, such as those affected by the earthquake disaster in Nepal. Our advice is to give to registered charities that have experience in delivering aid in difficult circumstances in the aftermath of natural disasters. It only takes a few minutes to check whether a charity is registered with us - and if in doubt, ask the fundraiser questions about how your money will be used. Good charities will be more than happy to answer your questions.
Top tips for checking whether an organisation appealing for donations is a genuine registered charity:
- before giving, check the charity’s name and registration number - you can verify this using the online charity search tool on GOV.UK
- when approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge and that any collection tin is sealed
- if in doubt, ask the collector 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 the charity’s name, registered name and a landline contact number - be wary of those that list only a mobile number
- look for the FRSB tick logo indicating that the charity is signed up to fundraising regulation, encouraging you to give with confidence www.givewithconfidence.org.uk
- to check whether a fundraiser is authorised to collect money in a public place (they must have a licence), contact your local authority or, if in London, the police - if it is a private place, check with the owner
- take care when responding to emails or clicking links to a charity’s website to ensure that they are genuine - instead, search online for your preferred charity to check you have the right web address
- after making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it as a crime to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 and inform the Charity Commission
- if in any doubt, contact your favoured charity direct to make a donation
Notes to editors
- The Disasters Emergency Committee has launched a Nepal Earthquake Appeal. DEC’s members are 13 of the major UK aid agencies; all are UK registered charities and all are expert in delivering aid in the most challenging circumstances.
- The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.
- Our 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
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