Charities Update: Fundraising Guidelines, VAT, Annual Report Deadline and More

Author:Ms Niamh Callaghan, Edward Gleeson, Alice Murphy and Emma Lawrence
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

The Consultative Panel on Charitable Fundraising (Panel) was established in 2016 by the Charities Regulatory Authority (Authority). The Panel was asked to consider the practice of fundraising from the public by charitable organisations. It was also mandated to make recommendations on how best to regulate fundraising into the future. Niamh Callaghan, a partner in our Charities & Not-for-Profit team, was a member of the Panel. A copy of the Panel's report is available here. 

Fundraising guidelines

One of the Panel's recommendations made in the report was that the Authority should issue guidelines for charities that fundraise. There already exists a Statement of Guiding Principles for Fundraising that was issued by (then) ICTR in 2008. The new Guidelines for Charitable Organisations on Fundraising from the Public (Guidelines) were published following the release of the Panel's report. While they derived from the 2008 Guiding Principles, they have been issued by the Authority in line with its functions under the Charities Act 2009. A copy of the Guidelines can be accessed here.   

The Guidelines apply to all types of fundraising by charities from the public. Charity trustees should ensure that all key people within their organisation who are involved in fundraising implement the practices prescribed by the Guidelines. When considered in conjunction with the Fundraising Codes, published by Charities Institute Ireland and available on that website, charity trustees now have access to a wealth of up-to-date guidance in relation to fundraising.

"Must" and "Should"

Various statements in the Guidelines commence with either the word "should" or "must".  The Guidelines note as follows:

"must" means that something is a legal or regulatory requirement or a duty that trustees must comply with "should" means that something is good practice and the Charities Regulator expects trustees to follow and implement it within their charity You "must" read the Guidelines in full.  However, here is a summary of some of the "musts" and "shoulds":


A charity must not enter into any agreement which is intended to deliver more private benefit to third party fundraisers than it does to the charity. Any information obtained in confidence as part of the fundraising process must not be disclosed without express, informed prior consent of the donor.  It must be made clear at all times whether fundraising activities are for the charity in general or for a special...

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