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

Don’t fund illegal activity – always give safely

12 Jun 2017

If you are thinking about donating to a cause, there are things you can do to help you give safely.

By giving incorrectly, you could be putting your personal information at risk and potentially be funding illegal activities such as terrorism.  As it is Counter-terrorism Awareness Week 2017 (12- 18 June) we feel that it is a good time to remind donors of the top tips.

  1. If you’re asked for a donation to a charity, check that it’s genuine by searching the Scottish Charity Register(England and Wales charities are registered with Charity Commission for England and Wales).
  2. When approached by collectors, check whether they are wearing a proper ID badge, and that any collection tin is sealed. Be wary of ID that looks photocopied or homemade. Check that collecting tins and buckets bear the name of the charity and are sealed and undamaged – it’s illegal to collect in ordinary containers.
  3. If in doubt, ask the collector for more information - a genuine fundraiser should be happy to answer questions and explain more about the work of the charity.
  4. Genuine fundraising materials should feature the charity’s name, registered name and a landline contact number. Be wary of those that list only a mobile number.
  5. To check whether a fundraiser is authorised to collect money in a public place, contact your local authority. If it is a private place, check with the owner. A few Scottish charities are exempt from licensing – check with the Regulator.
  6. Take care when responding to emails or clicking direct links to a website to check they are genuine. Instead, search online for your favourite charity to check that you have the right web address.
  7. Carefully review collection bags for clothing and household goods to check whether they are from a genuine charity.
  8. After making these checks, if you think that a collection or appeal is not legitimate, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or to Police Scotland on 101. The Scottish Charity Regulator has powers to act where an organisation claims to be a charity when it is not entered in the Scottish Charity Register.
  9. If in any doubt, contact your favoured charity direct to make a donation.

While it is legitimate for groups that are not charities to fundraise, being a registered charity can provide an added level of reassurance.  Giving to those in need is to be encouraged and applauded.  Carrying out some or all of the above checks will help make sure that your money is going to those who really need it.

More information on fundraising can be found here.