Fundraising and Risk Management

Fundraising income often makes the difference between being able to provide a service and achieving your charitable aims and not.

But what risks are there involved in fundraising and what concerns should fundraising managers, charity CEOs and trustees be keeping their eyes on? Here’s a quick breakdown of 4 key areas of risk.

1. Fundraising Strategy

As with any integral business function, fundraising shouldn’t be left to chance or approached on an ad-hoc basis. A fundraising strategy should be decided upon and a comprehensive plan should be devised and followed. This plan should provide detail on targeting, methods, costs, expected returns etc. and should consider the risks involved in any activities being undertaken. By planning the fundraising operations of your charity, you can identify and mitigate any risks early-on and before they develop into a problem.

2. Fundraising Tools

The fundraiser’s toolkit is relatively extensive… As well as their communication tools and marketing methods (websites, social media, text, telephone, bucket-shakers etc.), fundraisers often use data (within a customer relationship management system – CRM – or otherwise). Each of these tools has potential risks attached to it; when you’re planning your fundraising, you should ensure that you account for each of these potential risks and evaluate and mitigate them where possible. Consider situations like bad PR from a spoof email; data breach on your CRM or a fundraiser being caught up in a fight – there are many potential risks.

3. Fundraising Events

As with any event, it is key that risk management is undertaken and is at the heart of planning. In terms of risk to participants and attendees, the fact that an event is a fundraiser makes no difference (?). However, in terms of the outcomes of the event, if raising vital funds is the main goal then there is additional risk if the event is unsuccessful or must be cancelled. Consider how any incident at the event might affect fundraising and how cancellation or postponement might limit your charity’s income; then ensure that these circumstances are accounted for.

4. Fundraising Rules

The fundraising regulator is the new, independent regulator of charity fundraising. They set and promote the Code of Fundraising Practice for the UK and set out the standards of charitable fundraising that you should follow. They aim to ensure that fundraising is respectful, open, honest and accountable. Whenever you are planning to fundraise, you should ensure that you will be operating in line with the Code of Fundraising. Equally, if using an external provider, you should ensure that they will be compliant too. Don’t forget the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and incoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR); these are concerned with data protection, privacy and nuisance calls. Failure to adhere to regulation here can lead to enforcement action and fines.

Hopefully these 4 points will help guide your fundraising risk management planning. The Institute of Fundraising (link) (IoF) is the professional membership body for UK fundraising and supports fundraisers through leadership and representation, best practice and compliance, and education and networking.

If you need any further help or support with your charity risk management or would like to get a quotation for specialist charity insurance, please contact CaSE Insurance today:

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0333 800 9838