Free Ethical Fundraising Policy Template for UK Charities

An ethical fundraising policy template for charities and non profits to protect donors and beneficiaries and ensure that your fundraising complies with Charity Commission and other regulator guidance and ethics requirements

Ethical Fundraising Policy For UK Charities & Non Profits

An ethical fundraising policy template for UK charities and non profits to protect donors and beneficiaries and ensure that your fundraising complies with Charity Commission and other regulator guidance and ethics requirements.

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This ethical fundraising policy sets out how we manage the ethical issues and social responsibility within fundraising.

Specifically, we aim at all times to be open, honest, fair and to operate in a legal way that meets not only the law, but also fundraising regulation and best practice, including the Code of Fundraising Practice.

Everyone who is involved in fundraising has a responsibility to be aware of and comply with the ethical issues and procedures in this policy.

Charity Commission Fundraising Regulations - Trustees

The trustees are aware of and will comply with Charity Commission guidance CC3a, regarding trustees responsibilities, particularly in relation to always acting in the charity’s best interests and managing any conflicts of interest.

The trustees are also aware of and follow the 6 principles in Charity Commission 20 (Charity Fundraising: a guide to trustees duties).

We will always be honest about what we can achieve when asking for funds, submit realistic budgets, use the funds for the purpose intended and ensure that we provide any reports required, on time.

We will ensure that everyone is aware of and consistently complies with the regulatory guidance on fundraising behaviours and respond promptly and effectively to any fundraising complaints.

Charity Supporters And Donors

Supporters have a right to expect us to provide clear, truthful information on our work, including reporting on how we spend the funding we are given and managing donors' information responsibly.

We will comply with the guidance issued by the Charity Regulators and UK law, including in respect of openness and honesty with our supporters and members of the public.

We will respect the privacy and contact preferences of our donors. We will respond promptly to requests to cease contacts or complaints and act to address their causes.

Protecting Vulnerable Donors

In communicating with potential or existing donors we will be mindful of indicators that may suggest an individual may be vulnerable, using REAL:

  • Retain - and repeat the information you give him/her?
    • Do you have to repeat what you have said over and over again?
  • Explain I- able to properly explain or communicate the decision they have made?
    • Are they joining in the discussion or just agreeing with what you are saying?
    • Are they asking questions that aren’t related to what you are saying?
  • Able - to understand what they are being told?
  • Listen – able to listen, follow and understand the discussion taking place, or are they just repeating what you say?

If an individual shows signs of possible vulnerability, we will:

  • Consider communication preferences.
  • Not make assumptions about him/her.
  • Ask him/her what they need and how you can help them better.
  • Empathise and sympathise with him/her.
  • Try asking questions in a different way.
  • Summarise anything that has been decided or agreed in plain English.


  • Will not place any undue pressure on individuals to donate.
  • Do not either solicit nor accept donations from anyone whom we know, or think may not be competent to make their own decisions.
  • Are sensitive to any particular need that a donor may have.

Protecting And Respecting Charity Beneficiaries

How we represent our beneficiaries, in our communications, is always respectful of them and portrays them in the way they would wish to be seen.  We will only use personal information that they have given consent for and for the purposes they have agreed and will not disclose anything that might put them at risk, particularly children and vulnerable people.

Protecting & Respecting Staff And Volunteers

We have zero tolerance for abuse, including discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment, not only for fundraising staff and volunteers, but for anyone who is involved with our charity.  We will maintain a culture of respect and equality, will ensure that there are processes to raise concerns that everyone is aware of and is confident to use and we will deal with any allegations of abuse promptly and sensitively.

Fundraising Due Diligence

We will undertake reasonable due diligence of donors, to ensure they don't hold views or are involved in activities that might be incompatible with our role and damage our reputation. In terms of donations, we will ensure that any gift is safe to accept and, doing so, would be in the best interests of your charity.  We will also consider issues, such suspicious donations, or managing large anonymous gifts, or those from vulnerable individuals.

Refusals & Acceptance of Donations Policy

We abide by the law which requires us, in deciding whether to accept or refuse a donation, to consider which action is in the charity's best overall interest.  We have adopted a Refusals & Acceptance of Donations policy, which covers this in detail.  You can download this from within the Charity Excellence system.

Fundraising Commercial Partners

We will not partner with any organisation that produces goods/services or acts in a way that is contrary to our charitable objects, or values.

We are aware of and comply with the Charity Commission RS2 – Charities and Commercial Partners.  We will ensure that any commercial agreement represents a fair deal for the charity and.

  • Clearly establishes what we expect to gain from it, prior to entering into an agreement.
  • Set up appropriate systems to monitor and review the partnership.
  • Take appropriate steps to identify and manage any risks.
  • Ensure from the outset that the expectations of both the charity and the company have been agreed and.
  • Can be managed effectively and appropriately.

We will disclose any commercial partnerships in our Annual Report.

Restricted Donations

If supporters wish their donation(s) to be used in a specific way, or for a specific purpose, they may make a restricted donation by providing written instructions with their donation. We will always respect this.

Independence From the State

Trustees will also be mindful of RR7 - Independence of Charities from the State.  In particular, they will ensure that they remain independent and that any funding provided does not discharge the statutory duties of the State.

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This Resource Doesn't Constitute Professional Opinion

I am not an accountant, nor a lawyer and no advice can be applicable to all organisations, in all circumstances, so this resource is no more than a guide to understanding.  I've summarised the regulatory guidance and augmented this with my own experience and Internet research, but I am not competent to provide professional advice.  I have included links to the source guidance to enable you to check this yourself and, if you think you might need professional advice, use Help Finder to find pro bono support.

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