March 1, 2016 : Theresa Shearer

We need your views on fundraising in Scotland

We have three options - which should we choose?

You have a rare opportunity to help shape the future of fundraising regulation in Scotland. The Scottish Fundraising Working Group, established after SCVO’s Fundraising summit, has developed three potential options. You can have your say on them by contributing to our consultation, which is open until the end of March.

Our aim is to inspire debate and discussion. We want to know from Scottish charities and charities raising money in Scotland whether a UK-wide model, a hybrid model, or a solely Scottish regulatory model is the right approach. That’s why your views genuinely count.

remember – charity regulations is a devolved issue

If ever there was a challenge for a chair, the Scottish Fundraising Working Group has all the ingredients. Take a highly opinionated media campaign against fundraising charities, add in debate about whether there really is a problem in Scotland and include apparently contradictory data on the views of donors and the public.

Then mix in fundraising professionals with charity chief executives from both large and small charities, and representatives of UK charities fundraising in Scotland. Finally, for good measure, include observers from OSCR and the Scottish Government’s charity and consumer issues teams.

I’m pleased to say, however, that the Group has engaged in strong and informed, debate. Members haven’t held back from challenging positions held around the table. All of this has been achieved in a good natured, informal and  results-focussed, atmosphere.

As a result, we’ve arrived at the first major step in the development of a new fundraising regulatory system for Scotland. But there’s still a huge amount of work to do, beginning with the crucial job of getting your opinions.

Don’t be under the impression that anything has been decided yet. The Etherington Review gave a useful vision for a UK-wide regulatory approach, but this was in the context of the existing UK-wide regulatory arrangements. The Review’s recommendations, and decisions subsequently made by the UK Government, do not impact directly on Scotland; charity regulation is a devolved issue.

You may, however, wish to stick with the current, UK-wide, approach, albeit in a strengthened and more accountable form. It may be that you think a Scottish-based regulator is the best solution. Or that an intermediary like the Fundraising Standards Board or Fundraising Regulator are unnecessary, and that charities and OSCR need an enhanced role.

Once we have your views, we’ll refine the options and engage the Scottish public and donors in discussion during April and May. Only after this extensive programme of work will we finally make a recommendation as to which option should be adopted.

Make sure to have your say during this important moment for the our sector, the people we serve and the public.

Complete the survey into the future of fundraising regulation in Scotland.

Important: Opinions expressed by bloggers are their own and don't represent those of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations.

by Theresa Shearer