Fundraising in 2020



We have seen in 2020 that those who are able to give have been inspired to great generosity

Fundraising in 2020


2020 has been an extremely difficult year for fundraising, as it has become impossible for charities to hold the large in-person fundraising events on which so many rely, and difficult to conduct many other kinds of face-to-face fundraising. This also comes at a time when many households are less able to give and charities are facing significant financial pressure to meet the increasing demand for their work.

There is, however, hope for 2021. We have seen in 2020 that those who are able to give have been inspired to great generosity. Research from CAF has indicated a broadly consistent number of donors notwithstanding the effect of the pandemic. In addition, certain causes – such as those mitigating the direct effects of the virus and supporting the NHS and its staff – have benefited from an uptake in donations.

Looking forward, charities and their trustees will need to contend with a changing fundraising landscape, in which greater innovation may be needed to sustain income levels. We hope that the sector's regulators will continue to guide charities in navigating compliance in these uncertain times, and in this section we consider recent developments from the Charity Commission, the Fundraising Regulator and other regulators to survey the outlook for compliance in 2021.

Coronavirus fundraising and the Charity Commission

There has been no new guidance from the Charity Commission specifically focused on fundraising following the outbreak of the pandemic. However the regulator has directed charities to its existing guidance on 'Starting, running and supporting charitable emergency appeals (CC40)'.

This guidance is a helpful reminder to charities of the importance of carefully wording any specific appeals run in response to the coronavirus crisis and its effects

Updates from the Gambling Commission

Those charities who already engage in lotteries and other games to raise funds, or are looking to do so as a new 'fundraising stream' should consider and follow Gambling Commission guidance, and where relevant the specific provisions of the 'ASA' Codes, in addition to the Fundraising Regulator's own provisions. Looking back over 2020 there are two recent changes we would highlight...

The Fundraising Regulator

In addition to its coronavirus specific guidance the Fundraising Regulator has continued to publish its quarterly summaries of investigations it has carried out. These reports are recommended reading for all fundraisers, but among these there are two investigations which we single out here as being particularly interesting.

The outlook for compliance 2021

The downturn in 'face to face' fundraising income has led many charities to explore alternative fundraising strategies, particularly digital fundraising streams including collaborations with tech companies, social media giving and other online platforms.

This development of new fundraising techniques and sources is very encouraging for the sector's ongoing health – although the fundamentals of compliance with fundraising law and regulation will remain key in the year ahead.