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Being transparent and responsible in fundraising

Over recent years, there’s been much media comment about the public’s growing mistrust of charities – focusing on headline grabbing examples of poor governance, data protection abuses, aggressive tactics and lack of transparency about how donations are used.  This contributed to the establishment of a new Fundraising Regulator south of the border, while in Scotland, fundraising remains self-regulated but overseen by the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel.  

In the context of public mistrust of charities, it’s clearly getting harder to fundraise.  But rather than bleating about the minority of charities who’ve tarnished the reputation of the whole sector, the best and most responsible approach is surely to be transparent and ethical in all our fundraising practices, to build trust amongst valued donors and new supporters alike.  

Meeting the needs of new fundraising legislation

In readiness for new legislation being introduced in May 2018, which protects individuals, especially the vulnerable, we’re taking important steps, detailed below.  However, as Scotland’s national charity representing the rights and interests of older people, naturally our fundraising policies and practices have always safeguarded older and vulnerable people.  This, we hope, gives reassurance to supporters – past, present and future.  Age Scotland’s Fundraising Charter, which has been in place a long time, is freely accessible here

As a responsible charity, we’re currently obtaining consent from donors to contact them periodically for fundraising purposes, to thank them, to invite them to occasional supporter events and to report the impact of our work via our newsletter, Advantage.

We’re restricting our generic communications with donors to the following:

1. Advantage, our newsletter to keep you informed of our work and its' impact.

2. An opportunity to contribute to an appeal, if you wish to do so, helping to bring about transformational change in the lives of Scotland's older people.

3. An invitation to an annual supporter's event, such as the Silver Shindig, to enable you to feel part of the wider Age Scotland community.

You can of course opt out of our mailing list at any time. If you wish to do so simply email Stacey.Kitzinger or write to us at the usual address.

We’re ensuring that no personal data is kept needlessly – the records we need to keep are, of course, held securely in accordance with Data Protection legislation.

Printed donation forms will cease to include a section for donors to write their credit/debit card details and we’ll encourage online giving which is secure.

Enormous gratitude is owed to Age Scotland donors, many of whom have been giving with a generosity of spirit over a number of years, enabling the charity to make a difference in the lives of Scotland’s older people.  As important as fundraising legislation is, responsible charities need not be defensive.  We must not lose sight of the goodwill of people who give freely and cheerfully to causes about which they care deeply, playing their part in bringing about transformational change and making the world a better place.

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