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Rules for Volunteer Fundraising Groups

Volunteer Fundraising Groups: Rules For Working With A Charity

CO.CHA.165

This Volunteer Fundraising Groups: Rules For Working With A Charity template is in the form of a letter. It is intended to be sent by a charity to a group of people wishing to fundraise for the charity as volunteers. For the protection of the charity’s legal position and reputation, the letter is designed to regulate what the group may do and how it may do it.

There are a number of ways in which individuals or groups might fundraise for a charity:

• a charity might put on an event or carry on activities through its own employees or official volunteers. In such cases, it is the charity itself which is the fundraiser since the event or activity is run by the charity, not by individuals or a group acting independently;

• a group, whilst separate from the charity, might act on its behalf with involvement of or support from the charity; or

• a group which does not act on behalf of the charity might instead act “in aid of” and independently of the charity, perhaps with a degree of support from the charity.

This template is only for use where the group arranges and runs any event or activity “in aid of” the charity but the group is not part of the charity and does not act either on its behalf or under its control.

It is legally crucial to distinguish each of the three above means of fundraising from each other, and so it is strongly recommended that you read the accompanying Guidance Notes - Volunteer Charity Fundraising Groups. It explains the importance of the distinction for a charity: you can see that Guidance Note here.

Where a charity is aware in advance that an independent group will be fundraising for it, the charity can send a letter in the form of this template. It is detailed and relatively strict in order to minimise the risk that the charity will be legally responsible for the group’s acts. Where the charity has become aware of the group, but it is not well known to the charity, this template will be suitable, although you will still need to consider whether any amendments should be made to it to meet the particular circumstances.

However, there might be cases where the group is well known to the charity. It might have previously sent donations to the charity. Where the group has done nothing which the charity has found objectionable, the charity might feel that this template is insufficiently user friendly in the circumstances, in which case the charity might decide to adapt the template and soften its language substantially when dealing with such a group.

In contrast to the above situations, the charity might have no knowledge of or contact with a group or its intentions at all. In that case, when the group runs the event or activity in question, there is unlikely to be any opportunity for the charity to send any letter to the group before the event or activity takes place. In such cases, the charity might only become aware of the group or the fact that it has raised funds for the charity when the charity later receives a donation from it. In practical terms, there is then nothing that the charity can practicably do to regulate the situation until after the event.  After the event, it could send a letter to the group in the form of this template to regulate any further fundraising activity by the group for the charity.  

A charity might become aware of a fundraising group that has acted in a way which is objectionable to the charity, e.g. the group has misused the charity’s name or indicated that the group is authorised to act on behalf of the charity. The charity will not have been aware of the group previously, and so will not have sent this letter to it. In such cases, the charity’s trustees should take legal advice as appropriate, as to any available remedy or as to what steps they might or should take to protect the charity from any further misconduct by the group.

This Volunteer Fundraising Groups: Rules For Working With A Charity template is in open format. The requisite details should be inserted into the highlighted fields, or the wording can be adjusted to suit your purposes.

Wording in square brackets is optional. If it is required, then the brackets should be deleted and the wording within them retained. If the wording is not required, then it can be deleted.

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