We have updated OSCR Online - click here for more information on how to submit your annual return

Formal fundraising agreements

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


When using a professional fundraiser or commercial participator to raise funds you must have a written and signed fundraising agreement in place.


When is a fundraising agreement required?

A fundraising agreement is a written agreement (including electronic versions), that must be in place between a benevolent body and a professional fundraiser or commercial participator if:

For example, a professional fundraiser may be a company which is paid to conduct face to face or telephone fundraising on behalf of a charity.  The definition of a professional fundraiser does not include employees or volunteers of a charity.

  • a commercial participator states or indicates that some or all of the proceeds of a promotional venture are to be given to the benevolent body.

For example, a commercial participator may be:

  • a high street retailer selling Christmas cards from which a certain proportion of profits or sales revenue is donated to an agreed charity
  • a company which collects goods door-to-door on behalf of a specific charity, using the charity’s logo in its advertising and indicating that a certain percentage of the profits raised will be donated to that charity.


What information must the fundraising agreement include?

Fundraising agreements must contain the following:

the name and address of each of the parties to the agreement
the date the fundraising agreement was signed
the period which the fundraising agreement covers
any conditions about the termination of or changes to the fundraising agreement prior to the agreed end date
the main objectives of the fundraising agreement and the fundraising methods which will be used to achieve them
if the fundraising agreement relates to more than one benevolent body, details of how the parties will decide the proportion of fundraised monies each will receive
detail of how the parties will determine the amount of remuneration or expenses the professional fundraiser or commercial participator is entitled to receive

if the fundraising agreement is between a benevolent body and a commercial participator, details of how the parties will determine:

1. the proportion of proceeds from sales of goods or services which will be given to the benevolent body, and/or

2. the amount of donations the commercial participator will make to the benevolent body as a result of the sales of goods or services


If the fundraising agreement does not include all these requirements:

  • they cannot enforce the agreement against the benevolent body except by an order of the sheriff.


Making records relating to a fundraising agreement available

Offence icon 

Professional fundraisers or commercial participators who have a fundraising agreement with a benevolent body must make any records and information about the agreement available to the benevolent body if they request it.

Trustee duty

This means that charity trustees can ask to inspect the records of any professional fundraisers or commercial participators the charity has agreements with.


Consequence of fundraising without a fundraising agreement

Offence icon  

It is an offence for a professional fundraiser or commercial participator to fundraise on behalf of a benevolent body without a fundraising agreement in place which satisfies the requirements of the 2009 Regulations.

The 2005 Act also states that, if a professional fundraiser or commercial participator fundraises on behalf of a benevolent body without a fundraising agreement, either the benevolent body or OSCR (if the organisation is a charity) may apply to the sheriff court for an interdict (court order) to stop unauthorised fundraising. An interdict may be granted only if the sheriff is satisfied that the fundraiser is likely to continue to fundraise without a fundraising agreement.