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Published: 21/02/2018
Updated: 21/02/2018

Fundraising is a key contact between charities and the public. Get it right, and your charity secures funding and public goodwill. Get it wrong, and you risk undermining the public’s confidence in your charity and the wider sector.

Many charities rely on money from the public to continue and it’s up to you, as charity trustees, to make sure that your charity – and anyone fundraising for your charity – observe the legal requirements and, importantly, the kind of fundraising practices that will encourage the public’s continued support.

Fundraising is also an important way to raise awareness and promote your charity and its aims.

Whoever does the fundraising in your charity, you as charity trustees are ultimately responsible for any activities carried out in your charity’s name. 

Fundraising varies hugely in scale and covers a wide range of activities, including: 


What this guidance covers

There are many aspects of fundraising which OSCR does not regulate and that we cannot provide guidance on.

This guidance covers the areas that we do regulate. The two pieces of legislation OSCR oversees that set out some of the rules for fundraising in Scotland are:

This guidance highlights the duties of all charity trustees under the 2005 Act and how these duties can apply to fundraising. It sets out the rules that charity trustees must follow when their charity carries out fundraising activities, whether small, occasional fundraising or as its main source of income.

This guidance outlines some of the main requirements of the 2009 Regulations. The full detail of the regulations can be found in our Technical Guide to the 2009 Regulations.

Fundraising regulation is a mix of statutory and non-statutory rules and involves different regulators depending on the rules involved and who is carrying out the fundraising in question.

OSCR is responsible for making sure that charities follow the rules under the 2005 Act and this guidance focuses on how those rules apply in a fundraising context.


Cross-border charities

Scottish charities also registered in another country or subject to other regulators may have to comply with additional fundraising requirements in that other country. The two other UK Charity regulators are:

For cross-border charities the Fundraising Regulator is the non-statutory regulator which deals with any complaints about their fundraising practices.


What this guidance doesn’t cover

This guidance does not tell you about:

  • The full range of laws that can apply to different types of fundraising
  • All the requirements set out in the Code of Fundraising Practice and the Rulebooks for face to face fundraising which outline the fundraising standards expected across the UK   
  • How to fundraise
  • Rules about the collection of goods
  • Local authority requirements for public collections.

But, we do link to other sources of help and advice which cover some of these things. 



OSCR publishes general guidance for charities, but we can’t provide specific advice about fundraising practices. These organisations can also help with some or all of the areas of fundraising:

OSCR’s revised draft guidance to the 2009 Regulations.

The Institute of Fundraising is the professional body for UK fundraising whose aim is to promote the highest standard of fundraising practice.

The Panel is the fundraising self-regulatory body for Scotland. They deal with complaints about charity fundraising and promote standards for charity fundraising in Scotland.

The Fundraising Regulator holds the Code of Fundraising Practice for the UK and deals with complaints about fundraising by charities registered England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Charity Commission regulate charities registered in England and Wales.

The Charity Commission regulate charities registered in Northern Ireland.

HM Revenue and Customs advises on Gift Aid, the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme and other tax matters. You can also download Gift Aid declaration forms and guidance.

SCVOis a membership organisation offering a range of support for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations of all shapes and sizes across Scotland.

The ICO oversees the UK privacy and data protection laws.

TSIs offer a range of support and advice to voluntary organisations in all the local authority areas in Scotland.

The Commission license and regulate the people and businesses that provide gambling in Great Britain including Small society lotteries which raise money for charitable causes.

The ASA is the UK’s independent advertising regulator. The ASA makes sure ads across UK media stick to the advertising rules (the Advertising Codes).

Ofcom is the communications regulator for the TV, radio and video-on-demand sectors, fixed-line telecoms, mobiles and postal services, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate.

The DMA runs a number of preference services that allow consumers and businesses to opt-out of unsolicited marketing communications via telephone, mail or fax.